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A Doll’s House; A Representation of a Bad Love

In discussing the play” A Doll’s House” by: Henrik Ibsen, I will discuss the representation of the “bad love” between a wife and husband that is portrayed throughout this play. Nora is the doll that her husband dresses up, shows off, and lives in the house with their three children (Ibsen). Torvald, the loving husband, has the image of an innocent doll and immature child (Ibsen). Their love is blinded by deceit and lies which makes this a “bad love “.

Doll's House 2

Nora (Claire Bloom) and Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) discuss their Christmas plans in the 1973 film directed by Patrick Garland (Literature Craft and Voice).

Torvald thinks of Nora as a proper and perfect wife. He seems to be so nigh eve about any deceit involved within their marriage. He believes she truly loves him, but I feel that they are both plagued with a vast sense of confusion. He feels as if her act of getting money from her father for the trip to another country so that he could obtain medical treatment was innocent and without fault. He believes that this was an act of kindness and love. Little did Torvald know, at this time, that Nora forged her father’s signature in order to get the money needed for this treatment (Ibsen). Torvald was unaware of the real truth of where Nora had gotten the money from. He didn’t even believe that she would lie about a simple thing like the snuck sweets, but she did. At times throughout the play Nora seems spoiled, and it appears that she has no respect for her husband.

There is a detrimental action that occurs to the falsehood of their relationship, and this action brings about a drastic attitude change in Nora. She is so fearful of her husband discovering the truth about her forgery, at first, that she even abandons her moral obligations.  A lawyer by the name of Krogstad realizes he is going to lose his job at the bank, which Torvald manages, due to Torvald discovering a prior forgery that Krogstad was directly responsible for (Ibsen). He holds knowledge of the forgery that Nora had committed on her father in order to get the money needed for her husband’s medical treatment.  Krogstad threatens to reveal her secret unless she convinces her husband not to fire him from his position at the bank (Ibsen). Nora has influenced her husband to give the position that Krogstad holds to Mrs. Linde, one of Nora’s friends. She backtracks on her promise to Mrs. Linde in order to assist Krogstad in maintaining his position at the bank. Despite her efforts Krogstad was terminated from this position and Nora’s secret was eventually revealed, which infuriated her husband, yet he was willing to forgive her and move past this matter. Once all of the falsehoods of this “Bad Love” is revealed it deals a detrimental blow to their relationship.

When all of the truth surfaces about the deceit that has plagued their marriage, she is left with this feeling of malcontent and emptiness. She discovers that she is not happy with her current life, and makes a life changing decision based on this malcontent. She decides that the best course of action is to leave her family and not return. She truly believes that she is doing this in order to become the woman that she feels she is meant to be. Understanding that the dishonesty and deceitfulness of their past has caused a tremendous amount of pain, she decides to try brutal honesty.

 In conclusion, her decision to leave is genuine and sincere based on doing the right thing. Nora observes that she no longer loves him, and informs him that she has rarely been happy in their marriage. When faced with this newfound reality she decides it is best for all involved for her to abandon the marriage and duties of motherhood. Torvald offers assistance in building the foundations of her new life, but she rejects his help so that she can become the woman that she wishes to become. Torvald tries to resist her attempt to leave at first, merely by begging and trying to convince her to stay, but gradually steps aside and allows her to vacate the house. The ending of this relationship is a direct result of a one sided love. Torvald loves his wife, and yet the same level of devotion from her simply isn’t there. This is why I have termed this relationship as a “Bad Love”.

Ibsen, Henrick: Cheuse, Alan and Delbanco, Nicolas: ed. Literature Craft & Voice 2nd ed: A Doll's House

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