Character Analysis Of Nora Helmer In Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”

Henrik Ibsen left a rich literary legacy, including several dramatic works that deal with contemporary issues and seem pretty popular. The issues that he raises in his works are timeless. Worth reading and appreciating. Many stories in Ibsen’s theatrical works are intertwined, which ultimately leads to the disclosure of the internal conflict of the story. Among other disputes relating to the era of Ibsen, one can name the so-called feminist. The story’s protagonists solve problems, allowing the reader to explore the severe issues that Ibsen alludes to in his work, and A Doll’s House is no exception. The character of Nora Helmer is characterized by three traits manifested in three episodes of the work: pride, strength, and the desire for freedom.

The protagonist of the story, Nora Helmer, is married to Torvald and is the mother of three children. She represents every oppressed woman who is prevented from leading a free life because she lives like a doll in a doll house. In the play’s opening scenes, Nora is first shown as a young, submissive lady who loves to be patronized, pampered, and treated like a helpless animal. She is pleased and does not seem to mind that her husband calls her “little fluffy head,” “squirrel,” “lark,” and other derogatory terms (Ibsen I). She even seemed to enjoy the attention Torvald was offering her.

The audience can see Nora’s desire for freedom in the first part of the work. The girl shows some disobedience, rebelliousness, and impulsiveness in her behavior. Even though she is forbidden to eat sweets, she stealthily eats macaroons, even lying about it to her husband, stating: “I would not do anything that you do not like” (Ibsen I). To get her way in communication with her husband, Nora often manipulates, thereby transferring masculine dominance to her advantage. “Your squirrel will run and do all his tricks if you are kind and do what he asks” (Ibsen II), she adds, trying to convince Torvald to leave Krogstad on the staff.

The pride of the character is displayed in her feminist nature in the second half of the narrative. It seems that prior to her transformation, she plays two roles: one as her authentic self and the other as her husband’s doll (Ibsen II). As a result, she gives up her role as a Helmer Doll once she realizes that it serves no useful purpose and does more harm than good. This character is the weak, vulnerable, presumptuous and secretive aspect of herself. Nora represents feminism and every downtrodden woman who is ignored and robbed of her autonomy and self-respect. She dispels the myth that a woman’s only responsibility is her husband and children and exemplifies every woman’s right to personal independence and individuality.

Furthermore, the last important trait of Nora’s character, strength, is revealed in the epilogue of A Doll’s House. The Author adds an unexpected scene to the narrative to keep the viewer in suspense. The blackmailer refuses his demand and then expresses regret about it. It was then that Thorvald finally understood something (Ibsen III). He returns home to apologize after realizing his inappropriate behavior towards his wife. However, he postponed this choice since Nora knows she is cohabiting with a stranger. As can be seen in the course of the work, the character of Nora Helmer in work grows and overthrows the patriarchal power. The result is spiritual liberation, a rush of the strength of the character in the pursuit of freedom.

The narrative that Ibsen presents to the audience demonstrates the protagonist of his work exquisitely. The character of Nora Helmer is characterized by three main features, manifested in three episodes of the work. The episode of her life, described in the work of Ibsen, shows precisely the pride, strength, and desire for freedom on her part of Nora. Thus, the Author creates a complex nature, held in its spirit on the three pillars of the character’s strength, and allows the reader and the viewer to discover them together with Nora.

Work Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. DOVER, 2022.