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The character of Nora in "A Doll's House".

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Introduction

As a famous early 20th century philosopher once put it, "There are two people, so to say, in each of us- one derived by heredity from our parents and the other composed of all the influences we have received from the society in which we happen to have been born. By heredity we may be one sort of person; by training and education we may be quite another." This, what one might call, 'principle', in my opinion greatly applies to Ibsen's "A Doll's House". It is interesting to find if Nora's decision to leave was something that was imposed on her by her environment, or a 'bad' trait that was passed on to her by her father. Or is her decision a compromise between the two? Having said that, also brings about the thought of how much of a persons character results from heredity and how much results from the environment. ...read more.

Middle

In the play, we can see many examples of how heredity is credited for passing on physical traits and problems from parent to child. Take for example Dr. Ranks illness, he takes it for granted that it was his fathers' "amusements" which his "poor innocent spine must pay for" now. This reinforces my point about Ibsen accrediting every bad trait in each character as inherited from their parents. Another example is when Ibsen uses Helmer to show that "nearly all young men that go bad have lying mothers" and that children are "infected with lies and deceit" in such a household. Nowadays, to our modern society, this might seem as a very different, to say the least, way of looking at how a person's character develops. It seems as though Ibsen is trying to imply that character something hereditary, something one inherits. In other words, you are what your parents are. ...read more.

Conclusion

As is the case with Nora, she has been brought up in a society where the boundaries are clearly stated, she has tried to comply with these rules and done so well, she has played her role as a 'doll' in two households, her fathers' and her husbands', only in the end to start questioning the rules that were set. It is this transition of her character that is unclear to me. Why did she suddenly change? Throughout the play, she didn't seem like an individual to whom thoughts like "I can't go on believing what the majority says" and "I have to think over these things myself and try to understand them". But I have come to the conclusion that it was her environment that made her change. She finally realized the true environment that she lived in was ugly and brutal, in the face of Helmer. She saw that Helmer, who always said that he would "rescue" her if she ever was in need, only thought about rescuing himself. Thus she understood her environment and her character. ...read more.

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