“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen ends with Nora loudly slamming the front door as she exits her husband’s house. Only a few days ago, she had been playing the role of a typical happy young wife. She had realized that her whole life had been playing a role, that she had never truly been herself. Ever since she was a little girl she had been wearing a costume, a pleasant façade to hide what lies underneath. She had been a doll her whole life, a toy to be decorated as their “owners” please. A doll has no will of its own, but that of its “Owner” (Ørjasæter 30).
Nora had borrowed a large sum of money for the sake of her husband, Torvald. When he had finally discovered the truth, he became enraged at her. He bemoans the danger she has put him in and berates her. This is quite Ironic, given that only a few moments before, he said this: “Do you know, Nora, I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life’s blood, and everything, for your sake” (Ibsen 3.216).
He quickly forgets this when he learns about the borrowed money and the forged signature. He fears he may be blamed as well or treated as an accomplice. He does not wish to go down with her, selfishly refusing to sacrifice his dignity:
HELMER. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora–bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.
NORA. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done (Ibsen 248).
Nora has realized the true colors of her position, she has been a doll in selfish men’s hands for all her life. She has made nothing of herself, her whole life has been devoted to pleasing the men in her life. When she was speaking to Ms. Linde about having pai…
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…nd bravely turns away from her husband but also society’s expectations and leaves. She not only slams the door on her husband but also on her expected role as a woman.
Society expects women to get married and have children, to forgo their own wants and needs in favor of their husband’s wants and needs. This is an unfair expectation to have of all women, but it is the norm. To deviate from the norm is to cross over into taboo territory, but perhaps this is necessary for progress to occur. Things will never change if they are not challenged. It may seem that society’s values are set in stone, but even stones change given effort and time. When Nora leaves her house and slams the door, she is also slamming the door on society’s expectations of her as a woman. She has made her decision to leave her obligations to her family and courageously pursue her own freedom (Lee).