Domestic Comfort

Essay by nr051180University, Bachelor'sA, July 2004

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A Doll's House traces the awakening of Nora Helmer from her unexamined life of domestic comfort. Ruled her whole life by either her father or her husband, Nora must question the foundation of everything she believes in when her marriage is put to the test. Having borrowed money from a man of ill-repute named Krogstad by forging her father's signature, she was able to pay for a trip to Italy to save her sick husband's life (he was unaware of his condition and the loan, believing that the money came from Nora's father). Since then, she has had to contrive ways to pay back her loan, growing particularly concerned with money.

But, when she leaves for the final time, she is leaving for reasons other than what she had intended at the beginning of the Act. Before Torvald confronts her with the letter, she is on her way to commit suicide, determined that Torvald should not have to sacrifice his life for hers.

She considers this the appropriate thing to do because she believes that he would willingly give his life for hers as well. In this way, they have an equal relationship. However, I believe she is extremely disappointed to discover that he clearly has no intention of sacrificing himself for her. Instead of refusing to abide by Krogstad's demands and taking the blame on him, Torvald accuses Nora of ruining his life, telling her that she will no longer be able to see her children or maintain their marriage except in public appearances. Nora even asks him whether he would give his life for her and her fears are confirmed when he answers that he would never sacrifice his honor for a loved one. Consequently, Nora resolves to leave Torvald, aware that true wedlock is impossible between them...