A Doll's House
Nora is an enigmatic character, a chameleon. It is hard to say what exactly she is. Is she a empty-headed, silly child as she appears to be in the beginning? Is she a naive, young woman needing protection from a harsh world as Torvald perceives her? Or is she actually a very intelligent, underestimated, conniving but good-intentioned woman as she appears to be in the end of the book? Did she do anything wrong?
In the beginning of the play, The Doll House, by Henrik Ibsen, Nora appears to be very childish, and a spendthrift. She is talked down to by her husband Torvald; he refers to her as his little sparrow, who he must protect from the hawks. She appears to be a typical housewife, running the home while he works. She gives the appearance that she is deserving of the treatment he gives her, but the money that he believes that she squandered, is actually going to pay off a loan that saved his life. She is mistreated by him because he underestimates her, she is actually very intelligent, and a loyal wife.
When Torvald was in need, Nora was the one who came through on his behalf. She has been working since then to pay off this huge loan, all the time being treated as a child, and taking it, because she knows what she has done. That is thanks enough for her. She also knows that if she tells Torvald he will be very upset with her. When he finds out, instead of being greatful to her for saving his life, he is outraged. He is very strong in his beliefs; and in his household, he is in charge. This was the typical mind-set of the era the play was written in.
Women were not treated as equals; Nora's actions smashed the hierarchy Torvald believes in. She asserts herself as at least his equal; she may even be considered his superior. She knew the seriousness of his condition and instead of standing idly by, she did something about it. She committed a small moral wrong by going behind his back to do it, and forging her father's signature; but she knew that was they only way she could do it without placing an unnecessary burden on anyone. The good deed she did outweighs the falsities. A man dying instead of a small lie; in perspective, it seem ridiculous that this would even be considered. Unfortunately, this was the mind-set of the time; this was what was considered honor, a man's job. Torvald couldn't swallow his pride to see what his wife had done for him. She really worked to save him, but he didn't see that. So she left him. After thinking long and hard, she realized what she was missing in her life, and wanted to learn more. She wanted to explore the world, even if it meant leaving her children behind. She thought it was the better thing to do for both her and them. She believed they deserved to live a life without a morally corrupt mother.
What she did would probably be considered morally right in today's society, even though it wasn't in 1879. A woman would hopefully be treated with gratitude, even possibly as a hero if she did what Nora did, saved her husband's life, and fought against all odds to do so. In today's times though, hopefully a situation like Torvald's and Nora's wouldn't happen, hopefully a modern couple would be more honest with each other. Would work together to raise the money, or to pay off the money. That is because of the changes in society over the last hundred years. Women have gained more rights, and are considered equal, or at least in most situations. It is now acceptable to have women working outside the home, or even supporting their husbands, who stay home with the children.
Nora's end justifies her means. Everything she did, she did out of love and caring. She is actually very intelligent and does not deserve to be talked down to, or treated as her husband treated her. It is a shame that Nora was put through this, and that so many good minds were wasted during this era because of sexist ideas. Hopefully society will reach a time where both men and women are treated completely as equals, where gender does not help or heed the chances of getting a job.