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Published: 22-10-2019

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Analysis of Torvald Helmer Character

A predicatable response to reading Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House may well be a distaste for Nora’s feeble-minded obsession with income, possessions, and culture via the first two acts that is then, all of a sudden and unexpectedly, reversed as these harsh opinions fall upon her dumbfounded husband as Nora breaks loose from her marionette strings and takes a stand for the potential she had that was suppressed and squandered by the males dominating her life. Her revelatory speech is so stirring, so epic, that a reader cannot aid but applaud her by the end of it and appear upon Torvald Helmer with a sort of ire and shame at his gender-standard oppression, and when Nora slams the door at last on their marriage and her life as a “doll,” there should be a mental applause inside the reader’s head as the audience rises hollering from its seats with only the defeated Helmer remaining on stage to suffer through their joy. All this nonetheless, comes in stark contrast to the 1st two acts, in which the audience would have shaken their heads collectively at Nora’s shallow, straightforward actions and her husband’s looming troubles resulting from them. Indeed, the shift among acts two and three is jarring, to the point where a reader, following descending from the euphoria of that final speech, inevitably inquiries the transition. There is small in common in between the Nora who pleads to her husband, “You know I could in no way act against your wishes,” (31) and the Nora who announces that “I believe that I am 1st and foremost a human being” (58), which means that she revokes her status as his doll (though this essayist would like to make the point that, to parody Forrest Gump, human is as human does). Nonetheless, while the case is often created that Nora’s sudden development is a flaw in the narrative, Helmer’s role is more ambiguous. Right after all, a reader would presume, did he not enforce Nora’s part as a puppet? Did he ever do something to kindle a passion in her for things beyond macaroons and dresses? Undoubtedly not, at least, not so far as the play reveals. And this becomes ample grounds to shake one’s finger at Helmer in shame. Nonetheless, the case could also be created that Helmer was not as domineering and patronizing as Nora argued – at least, not by nature.

It could be that he himself was merely adapting to a role to suit her personal actions he did not, after all, shape Nora to be this way. Rather, he continued her development in the exact same path she had already been headed in and content with, as begun by her father, whose part is not so simply analyzed through the play due to the fact he functions into it solely by way of Nora’s references, and even those are subjective and couple of. But, presuming that her father had as a lot of an effect on her as she claimed, then it is probably that when Helmer met Nora, she was already playing the doll and bore no signs of larger aspirations in life. She accused Helmer of shaping her to share his fancies and opinions, but perhaps the reverse is also accurate, that Helmer adapted himself to suit her doll-like mind. There is, right after all, no indication of Helmer’s personality pre-Nora he could effectively have been one particular to encourage those with intellectual prospective, but as Nora never displayed this, he had no cause to assume she possessed a mind that could be concerned with something much more complicated than sneaking macaroons. In The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing argues that all individuals, males and females, determine themselves via other people possibly this is the case here as nicely, and whilst Nora was conforming herself to her husband, he was carrying out the exact same to meet her halfway.

The key evidence to an argument in defense of Torvald is, of course, Nora’s evolution herself, with a concentrate on the questionability of her shift in character, which bears much more in common with a mid-life crisis or some biological event than a genuine revolution of believed. In reality, provided Nora’s materialistic predilection and the fervor with which she left to change her life, 1 would not be remiss in imaging a sports automobile in her immediate future (barring the apparent anachronisms, of course). In practical terms, even though, such a radical change in character, one particular bearing no precedent in the individual, is more commonly attributed to acute depression, insanity, or the aforementioned mid-life crisis. These leaps in character frequently arise without having any prior indications as to their directions a man who has been fastidious with no abandon his entire life may possibly, overnight, turn into a grungy mess of a man girls who were devoted lifelong to their children may abandon them unexpectedly and with little explanation. In contrast to the play’s reliance on a sudden revolutionary explosion whose fuse should have been burning steadily by means of the ages upon ages of oppressed and simplified women, these conditions do not need a precedent in order to be believable. If Nora had, for example, lost her thoughts to the entire ordeal (which, granted, may possibly properly have occurred), the proud and confident note in her voice could be explained away with ease. If, nevertheless, readers are expected to think that the woman who when played pet to a man who wielded such puerile nicknames as “squanderbird” and “squirrel” could have concealed so acute an intelligence as she would later display, then too numerous queries are left over. Assuming then, for the moment, that Nora did in fact lose her mind fretting over the Krogstad affair, thus explaining the disconnect in her personalities, then what blame could rightly be attributed to Helmer? If her radical departure was the fault of some biological function, how could her husband have helped that? In the play’s defense, Ibsen penned the story in 1879, when these ailments and whatnot weren’t so heavily explored.

With that stated, it need to be admitted that Helmer is at least guilty of underestimating Nora and of failing to take the stand and carry out the “miracle of miracles” (59) which would have justified his spot by the side of the “new and improved” Nora. And, though that failing could be attributed at least in element to the chaotic frenzy of paranoia, worry, broken trust, and disillusionment. Perhaps, then, Nora’s hope for a “miracle of miracles” is really that Helmer would be in a position to free of charge himself of the puppet master persona he had taken on to suit Nora, and that they could join again without having falling into such base co-dependant roles and stand collectively in equality, naked and pure from these falsities. In that way, then, the two could share the duty, with neither taking the entire of the blame – a possibility that would comply with Ibsen’s response to claims that his work was a wonderful argument for Women’s Rights in which he said “I am not even extremely sure what Women’s Rights are. To me it has been a question of human rights” (28). If the responsibility can be shared among Helmer and Nora, with neither dominating the other and with each getting accurate to themselves rather than dutifully fulfilling their gender roles, then the question of gender subsides, for both are equal and, in a sense, androgynous.
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