Nora's Version versus Jane's Version

     The story of Nora Helmer is presented to us in play form by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 and by movie form by Joseph Losey in 1973. A Doll's House may have been the title of both forms, but different feelings of the story were presented to the audience. Both versions of A Doll's House showed a woman who realized she was capable of more without a man, but that was all they had in common.

     The play gave the reader a complete picture of Nora. She was the perfect housewife and mother. She was always pretty and happy, with a bit of rebellion in her. An example of this rebellion is her borrowing of money illegally to take her sick husband to Italy. Even then, however, she did it only out of love for her husband. She allows her husband to call her little animal names and a spendthrift in order to save money to pay back the debt. She gives him the feeling of being in total control of his family, while she suffers to repay the money she borrowed to take care of him. The relationship, however, seems to be a rather loving one. They seem to be perfect for one another.

     The movie, while essentially telling the same story, does not do as well as the play. The opening of the movie has Nora, played by Jane Fonda, telling Christine how in love she is with Torvald. Not only is this scene not essential, the audience has a difficult time believing Nora could be in love with Torvald as presented by David Warner in the movie. He is Nora's opposite in personality and appearance. Nora is bursting with energy and personality, while Torvald is drab and lifeless. He is not what is presented in the play. Had the movie presented their relationship based on money, it would have been more realistic.

     The movie also overemphasized the coldness in the setting. While the play mentions the cold and snow, the movie seems to revolve around it. Every scene steals some of the action in the movie. Less setting and more acting would have helped the movie along.

     The movie also seemed to be more for women's rights than the play. The movie showed the audience that a woman can escape the traditional role of wife and mother. However, the play showed how a person in any situation can realize what he or she is really capable of doing. Women were the target Jane Fonda was trying to reach, while the play was trying to reach those who do not question the world around them. As Nora says in the play--"I am going to see if I can make out who is right, the world or I."

Angie Butler

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