Nora Wakes up

         The days where a wife must always do what her husband says are thankfully over. Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, produced and directed as a movie in 1973 by Joseph Losey, takes the present-day reader back to the days where a wife is supposed to be submissive and do whatever the husband says. In the end, when Nora (Jane Fonda) finally wakes up and realizes how wrong her husband's treatment is, she gives up everything--her husband, children, and the life she has always known--to find out who she really is.

         Torvald (David Warner) and Nora are a clear example of a relationship with no equality. It appears to Torvald as if Nora is not a wife but an object whose only role is to please him. Torvald definitely feels that a husband's job is to protect his wife, but little does he know that his wife does not need protecting. Nora is quite capable of taking care of herself and Torvald.

         Krogstad (Edward Fox), a disgruntled employee of the bank, which Torvald will soon take over as manager, mentions in the beginning of the movie that Nora had taken out a loan to help save her husband's life. That action alone is something that a woman was not allowed to do in those days. Therefore, she had to forge her dead father's signature. Nora had known this was an illegal practice, but she had sacrificed herself anyway to save her husband's life. She had managed to raise most of the money to pay the loan back. All this was revealed to Torvald only when Krogstad learned that he was going to be fired at the bank.

         Upon hearing the news, and even learning the reason Nora had taken out the loan, Torvald is less than impressed. He yells, belittles her, and even asserts that she will no longer have contact with her children. When Torvald later finds out that Krogstad has changed his mind about going to go to the officials about Nora's illegal transaction, Torvald runs to Nora telling her that he is saved and everything can go back to the way it has been. However, he has failed to realize that things could never go back. Nora has finally learned that she does not truly know who she is, that she does not love Torvald, and that she must leave her children and home to find a new life. Ultimately, Nora at last puts herself first and decides that she will no longer live only for Torvald and her children but just for herself.

Jill Hawanchak

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