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September 9, 2005

A Doll House-Act 2

Ibsen, A Doll House (Act 2) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

NORA: (unperturbed) I mean, then I went from Papaís hands into yours. You arranged everything to your own taste, and so I got the same taste as you Ė or I pretended to; I canít remember. I guess a little of both, first one, then the other. Now when I look back, it seems as if Iíd lived here like a beggar Ė just from hand to mouth. Iíve lived by doing tricks for you, Torvald. But thatís the way you wanted it. Itís a great sin what you and Papa did to me. Youíre to blame that nothingís become of me.

When I read the first act of this play, I loved the way Torvald treated Nora. I truly thought that he loved her very much, and this was the reason that he talked to her the way that he did. Her playing along made me think what she wanted Torvald to think, that she liked it. As I read on, I started to almost, hate the way that he treated Nora. This is a very important quote. This is when Nora finally stops the act for a moment and tells Torvald how she truly feels, like a doll. She feels that her father played with her like he would a doll, and then Torvald continued this treatment when they were married. But can you blame Torvald? Is he a horrible, horrible person for treating her this way? Whereas I feel for Nora and the way she feels used, I can't seem to blame Torvald. If anyone is to blame, it is her father. This is the only way that Torvald has known Nora, how was he to change the way that he treats her without knowing that it is not what she wanted? Perhaps he could have been more observant, or he should have just treated her equally. Honestly, what man would just do something, just because he thinks that it MIGHT be what his wife would want? Not only men, it's human nature to push the limits and to want to take advantage when there is slack clearly seen. But with this quote, Nora tells him exactly what she's needed to say for so long now.

Posted by CheraPupi at September 9, 2005 3:51 AM


Chera, I was wondering what your reaction would be, once you finished the play. Thanks for describing the way your response changed. I think it's great that you're able to identify the exact line that made you change your mind about Torvald. It's also thoughtful of you to move beyond taking what Nora says at face value. Does Ibsen intend for us to identify completely with Nora? Is it possible she is wrong about some things? Nora's decision to leave is not only shocking, but also dramatically necessary -- there's no other ending that would come close to creating the dramatic impact that Ibsen achieves. But it wouldn't be a great play if there weren't something for the audience to discuss afterwards. And there would be nothing to discuss if everyone agreed completely that Nora made the right decision.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 9, 2005 4:12 AM

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