Flaws Portrayed Within The Helmer Marriage In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House

1193 words - 5 pages

Marriage is a union between two people who communicate and love each other. A love so pure and unconditional that only in death can they part. In a Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Nora and Torvald appear to portray the perfect marriage. However, throughout the play flaws within the Helmer marriage are exposed: a lack of communication, love and selflessness. A relationship based on lies and play-acting; A marriage condemned by the weight of public opinion.
Nora and Torvald lack one of the key elements needed to make a marriage work. Good communication allows you to better understand your partners needs and to unite as a team to solve problems or comply. When Torvald got sick and the only thing to save his life was to move to the south; Nora found a way to procure the money and forged her father’s signature to obtain the loan. The most heroic action of her life is an unforgivable crime in the eyes of society. Nora has kept this a secret from Torvald. “A man who has such strong opinions about these things! And besides, how painfully and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now.”(12) To pay back the loan, Nora has worked without her husband’s consent, staying up late nights copying, to earn money and saving a bit from what Torvald gives her. “Whenever Torvald has given me money for new dresses and such things I have never spent more than half of it; I have always bought the simplest and cheapest things.”(13) Without trust, honesty can never be obtained. There was poor communication throughout their entire marriage and only at the end, after eight years of being married did it become clear that they had never had a serious conversation. Nora observed, “I am not speaking of business matters. I say that we have never sat down earnest together to try and get to the bottom of anything.”(66) Communication is important in a relationship because it gives you a good understanding of who your partner is, therefore Nora and Torvald do not know each other at all.
The Helmer marriage is very deceptive. They appear to be happy, but it’s all an illusion. Marriage is like a flower; It needs sunlight, water and soil to grow. For a marriage to work, there must be love. Torvald does not respect Nora as a man would if he considered his partner as equal. He talks down to her, considering her inferior by using terms of endearment. This is exemplified by the names he calls her such as, ‘my little skylark’, ‘ my little squirrel’, ‘my little singing bird’ and ‘sweet-tooth’. Nora does not know any better from early childhood. She has been pampered for the greater part of her life through first, her father and then her husband. This mentality makes their relationship much like that of a father and a child. “Your squirrel would run about and do all her tricks if you would be nice and do what she asks.” Torvald...

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