“There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn't me. I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.” ― Steve Moore “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen tackles issues such as identity and freedom which are shown through acts of the main character, Nora. Through her actions the audience realizes just how far one would go to find freedom and what sacrifices one would make to achieve that. Yet in the end it goes to show what can result when expectations and societal pressure prove to be too much that it pushes one to behave rather impulsively yet see things in a new light.
In “A Doll’s House” Nora, the protagonist and main character, is oppressed by a variety of tyrannical social conventions. Also, due to how Ibsen presents Nora, she is shown as a “doll”; vapid and passive with little substance to her warped personality. An example of this is at the start of the play when Torvald, her husband, beckons her to him using belittling phrases such as “skylark” and “featherhead” (12-13). And yet, she doesn’t seem to mind and even still, plays into it to try to get her way. She uses those phrases only to get what she wants out of Torvald without even so much as thinking how it reflects how Torvald views her. Not only does this troubling fact show how she willingly submits to what her husband says about her but it reveals how Nora is unaware of how it has shaped her way of thinking and behaving. Her lack of awareness is apparent when she states, “I should not think of going against your wishes” (15). This is irony also because of what occurs previously when she takes a bite out of the macaroon because sweets are strictly forbidden. But, it is unawareness because she falsely believes that by obeying what she is instructed to do can she be happy. That is not true for we later see that this leads to her delving deep into her beliefs and changing her course to find out what she truly wants.
Furthermore, until her change, Nora is very much shown as whimsical and ditzy. Her first act at the start of the play is paying the porter more than the amount charged and that is right off the bat shown as being irresponsible but naïve because she doesn’t seem to understand the value in saving rather than spending thus Torvalds nickname to her as a “spendthrift” (14).
This shows a typical stereotype of the type of woman described at that time, as a wife who just spends her time tending to house chores and inattentive to anything but that. How that has affected Nora’s character is by what she has done to save her husband’s life. This is revealed when a dear friend of hers arrives, Mrs. Linde, a widow. Once settled, Nora divulges a secret.
Not only is she trying to leach off her husband to spoil herself but yet, she saved his life by borrowing money from Mrs. Linde’s former beau, Krogstad. In a way, we underestimate Nora because she is able to handle business in order to save her husband’s life but that is only prompted by her want to dignify herself worthy and somewhat independent instead of dependent for once. An example of this would be when she’s telling Mrs. Linde how she felt after doing that saying, “It was like being a man” (23). This is a far cry beyond the realm of “little skylarks” and “squirrels” and gives us, the audience, a glimpse as to what Nora really wants instead of routinely being the superficial wife that is only viewed as a possession rather than a partner of equal worth.
Further analysis shows how dark and impulsive one is when confronted with a harsh reality instead of the same dreamland previously known. Up to this point where Nora has confessed her…