A Doll's House

A Defense of Torvald Helmer

A predicatable response to reading Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House might be a distaste for Nora's feeble-minded obsession with money, possessions, and culture through the first two acts that is then, suddenly and unexpectedly, reversed as those 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 men dominating her life. Her revelatory speech is so stirring, so epic, that a reader cannot help but applaud her by the end of it and look upon Torvald Helmer with a sort of ire and shame at his gender-typical 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 however, comes in stark contrast to the first two acts, in which the audience would have shaken their heads collectively at Nora's shallow, simple actions and her husband's looming troubles resulting from them. Indeed, the shift between acts two and three is jarring, to the point where a...

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