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The seeking for self-determination and identity in Henrik Ibsens A Dolls House- An interpretation of Noras decision to leave husband and children

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Introduction

World Literature Assignment 2 IB English A1 HL The seeking for self-determination and identity in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House- An interpretation of Nora's decision to leave husband and children Elena Antoni Mountain Creek SHS Word count: 1507 Henrik Iben's "A Doll's House" aroused great irritation and outrage in the audience response in the nineteenth century. Nora's decision to leave her husband and children, to leave the "Doll's House", provoked great controversy: There are different opinions regarding the development of the plot: Some see Nora as a great Heroine, a role model for the nineteenth century woman and a shocker for societies structure, a judgement which is popular especially nowadays. Others- and amongst them the majority of the nineteenth-century audience- reacted simply shocked. When the play was actually produced, Ibsen was even urged to write a different ending, in which Nora comes back- for the sake of her children. But also today, some critics1 argue, that Nora's decision to leave the house is either not realistic, as it does not fit to her character, or, that the decision shows her egoism rather than her heroic features. ...read more.

Middle

Her sudden confrontation with reality explains that she does not "really know", that she is "so bewildered about all." (Ibsen: 228). This enables her to develop a new sight on things, which is summed up in a part of dialogue with Torvald: "Now that I come to look at it, I've lived here like a pauper- simply from hand to mouth. I've lived by performing tricks for you, Torvald. That was how you wanted it. You and Papa have committed a grievous sin against me: It's your fault that I've made nothing of my life." (Ibsen: 226) Critics now argue that the plot outcome is highly unrealistic, and that Nora could never have developed in such a way, to suddenly go out and start a new life. But firstly, it was not really "her", the child-wife, but a role she played in order to please others, and to reach what she wants. Yes, she could have stayed for the sake of the children, or for the families' reputation, but that is simply not her: One could argue that she showed the ability to sacrifice herself by forging the signature of her father to save her husband. ...read more.

Conclusion

That is the reason why she refuses any help from Torvald, as she wants to gain total independence and freedom, without tying her to his help. And yes, she is a heroine, as she decides her self- respect, and her identity over the easier way, over luxury and comfort. Her comprehending, that she was never herself and that she will never find herself and be appreciated the way she really is if she continuous like this, makes her come to the unchangeable decision to leave home. She knows now, that they "must both be perfectly free." (Ibsen: 231) in order to be equals. Only this way, she will be able to find her identity, to fulfil the "duty to myself" ( 228) Ibsen makes a strong statement with his play, establishing the rights of women as "human beings"- before her "most sacred duties as wife and mother." He emphasis the women's need for freedom and self-determination, and even apologises the need to leave husband and children to find the own identity. Ibsen confronts the audience with a critic of the current state of affairs, and expresses that this "status quo" has to be changed. He does not, however, dismiss the women's role as mother and wife, whereas he emphasis, that her rights as a human-being go first. ...read more.

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