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Ibsen`s 'A Doll's House': Societal Conflict - Essay Example

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Name Ibsen’s A Doll’s House: Societal Conflicts Society plays an important role in an individual’s life. But, both society and the individual need to understand each other’s needs before they come into conflict…
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Ibsen`s A Dolls House: Societal Conflict
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Download file to see previous pages This creates a situation, which is opposite to purpose of what society was originally created for. At the time when Henrik Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House, Europe was undergoing revolution. It was a time in the history of literary development when a new modern perspective was emerging against the romantic tradition. The ending remains ambiguous and disregards boundaries. The reader is forced to evaluate each character on an equal plain despite an open-ended conclusion. Nora, the protagonist is seen to have boldly broken away from the shackles of society and she could be an ideal mother. But she lost the trust in her husband because she has had enough of foul play to do with him. By way of reading the play, this paper will explore the possible causes of conflict between society and individual. The plot revolves around three major characters, Nora, Torvald Helmer, her husband and Nil Krogstad. The situation is very complicated; as a loan shark, Krogstad attempts to blackmail the heroine, Nora. But he is also working for her husband Torvald. Despite the fact that Nora attempts to foil Krogstad in order to sustain an image of affluence, it is the very act that unshackles her from the vision of the doll’s house and permits her to confront her own moral principles and face the society that has treated both her and Krogstad in an undeserved manner. Nora flinches at the sight of Krogstad, as it can be seen in Act I Scene IV. He is a dark figure who has a powerful drive to succeed and he cannot be seduced or manipulated like Torvald or Dr. Rank. Even money cannot persuade against him. There is an element of retirement seen in Nora’s life each time Krogstad enters the scene and she is heard making comments like “…nonsense!”, “That’s impossible” or “Of course not!” whenever he leaves the scene. It is as if she is trying to erase the encounter before it can be realized. As the play progresses and she keeps attempting to resist Krogstad, her morals come in conflict with the deceptive game she is compelled to play to save her life. When asked, however, about her father’s signature, she admits to have forged them. For Krogstad, it is a “dangerous admission”. She does not let her game interfere with her dignity because her faith in human laws is higher than those of society. Out of desperation she approaches Dr. Rank “for a great proof of friendship” but she is extremely disappointed and ashamed when he is seduced into a false sense of intimacy from her side. She calls off her game by switching on the lights and ends up in the arms of fate. She dances wildly for Torvald to keep him from reading the letter which reveals her sin made years ago to save her own family. She believes that Torvald will eventually understand her position and will sacrifice himself for her. But once he reads the letter, two things become apparent. First of all, Torvald’s true nature is revealed and that secondly he is the actual villain of the play who sets unjust rules in the society. The reader is surprised when, towards the end of the play, he witnesses another side of Torvald. From calling her ‘squirrel’ and ‘songbird’ he goes on ranting about what comes as a shock to Nora: “What a horrible awakening! All these eight years—she who was my joy and pride—a hypocrite, a liar—worse, worse—a criminal! The unutterable ugliness of it all!— ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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