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A Dolls House as an Allegory for the Modern World Essay


In todays world, crimes are being committed, people keeping secrets, and families are separating. In Ibsens A Dolls House, todays world is shown through the lives of Torvald and Nora Helmer. Torvald, like some men in todays society, treats his wife, Nora, as a possession. He refers to her as his little singing bird and never as a grown woman. Nora, like most people, has many secrets. She is like a little child hiding everything from Torvald. In the end, she learns that she can not handle raising kids and that she no longer loves Torvald.

To some men, women are one of their many possessions. Torvald treats Nora as one of his possessions. He refers to Nora as my own little singing bird (1452, Ibsen

). In todays world, some men show no respect to their wives. Some men just use them to feed their sexual appetites while others will lock them in their house so they cant get out. Torvald lets the reader know that he is the one in charge of his dolls house, by always opening and closing the doors. Torvald always wants to know what Nora is up to.

Torvald does not only want to have control over Nora, he must have control over everything he is a part of. When Torvald becomes the bank manager, he fires Krogstad, a friend of his from his youth, because Krogstad calls Torvald by his first name. An extreme version of this in todays world is when different gangs venture into another gangs territory, the outcome will most likely lead to one gang being killed. Little thing that have so little meaning, such as what street a person lives one, can have tragic outcomes.

Secrets, in most cases, are just one form of a lie, not only to others but also to us. When we keep secrets, we must lie to cover up what we have done. Nora kept a secret from Torvald. She went behind Torvalds back and borrowed money illegally from Krogstad. This secret soon became a major problem for Nora when Krogstad, after losing his job, puts a letter in the mailbox telling Torvald all about the IOU. She makes Trovald show her how to perform the tarantella dance to keep Torvald away from the letter. She uses the lie of not knowing how to dance the tarantella to buy more time to retrieve the letter from the box. When she final learns that she is not going to get the letter, Noras friend Mrs. Linde tells her that things would be better if she told Torvald the truth about the IOU. People today have secrets, some are as small as getting a speeding ticket, and others are as large as murder. No matter what the secret is, things are normally better, as a whole, if the secret is revealed to the public.

Every day families all over the world are arguing. Some are working out their problems to keep their family as a whole, while others are filing for a divorce. In the end of A Dolls House, Torvald reads the letter about the forged signature. Torvald does not stand up for Nora by showing her the miracle that she hoped for, the family falls apart. Nora is asked if she still loves Torvald, her reply is a straight forward no. The reason was that she had hoped, upon reading the letter, Torvald would stand up for her and take the blame. However, when Torvald said that she has ruined him, she knows that she no longer loves Torvald. Families are getting divorces every day because the love and trust that was once there has disappeared.

Ibsens A Dolls House, is about a dieing family and the secrets that they possess. In todays world, keeping secrets can cause a family to become separated. A Dolls House also shows what men and women can truly be like, not only in those days but also in the real world today. Torvald is always treating Nora as his little pet and Nora is always acting like a little child. The play shows the reader how the truth can make everything different. Instead of Torvald standing up for Nora when she needed him, he backed out and put all the blame for his problems on Nora. The family fell apart because Nora lost her love for Torvald, but she leaves Torvald thinking that maybe they still have a chance but it will probably never come to be.


Ibsen, Henrik. A Dolls House. In Literature, pp. 1413-1470. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 1999.

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