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Who is at fault in A Doll’s House

Nora Helmer, the wife of Torvald Helmer and mother of 3 children, is a very complex and brave woman for her time. She plays the main role in the play and is essential to its plot. She is both a victim of her circumstances and also at fault for actions which she committed. Nora is a victim. Throughout her entire life, she has never been taken seriously by anyone. She has been treated like a doll by both male characters in her life, her father and her husband, and has acted accordingly. She has believed whatever they have told her without any question because she feared it would anger them.

At home, Daddy used to tell me what he thought, then I thought the same. And if I thought differently, I kept quiet about it, because he wouldnt have liked it and he played with me as I used to play with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house ( Henrik Ibsen: Act III, pg. 1465) Therefore, she constructs a life of dishonesty because she encompasses different morals than her husband, and their minds never meet. Torvald Helmer has straight principles and knows clearly where he is, where he is going and how he is going to get there.

Nora has conflicting goals because she does not have a clear-cut path for her future and she writes her own story. Nora is at fault. She makes decisions on her own, borrows money to save her husband, and makes the decision to forge her fathers signature, and is excited about what she is doing which is the worst mistake. She also does not follow the expected female behavior for her time, which causes her problems. A good example of that would be when she borrowed money from Krogstad.

This decision alone was not even a possibility for a woman of her time nor was her decision to borrow without the consent of a male such as her husband or father. Her biggest and most grave mistake is forgery of her fathers signature on the IOU in attempt to spare him any worry on his deathbed. She is also at fault because she ahs principles which are in conflict with the law. An example of that would be the manner in which she views that her crime of forgery was permissible because she meant good and was not trying to actually commit the crime for her own benefit, but rather with good intentions.

She does not understand that a crime committed is a crime committed whether or not the intentions were good or bad and that she will be held accountable by the law regardless of what she feels is right. This play has many themes which add to Noras character and position such as conflicting values and principles, the gender issue which is the expected male behavior and the expected female behavior, and how the female role is unsatisfying, restricting and false. Are these themes still concerns for women in the present day?

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