How does the self-consciousness of the main character influence the ending of Henrik Ibsen’s “a doll’s house”??
When Nora slammed the door in the face of Torvald, the echo of this estrangement shook the pillars of the male dominated society where women were assigned stereotyped roles and were robbed of any independence and identity. From time immemorial writers and playwrights have written the tales of self-consciousness and revolutions from within wherein the woman was influenced to rebel against the constraints as imposed by the social and cultural beliefs, and dogmas of the society. Ibsen’s “ A Doll’s House” also portrays the character of a woman who rejects her house, husband and children when her consciousness impels her to find her identity in the patriarchal society. This essay looks how her self-consciousness influences the ending of the play, “A Doll’s House” in the light of the major theme, language and characters as employed by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Ibsen deals with the theme of identity crisis in Nora’s life, and gives a short description of the way things have been with her. Nora has had a past of her identity crisis when her father, a spendthrift and a dishonest man treated her as a pet. Although the play has often been termed feminist and realist, it is pragmatic as well. It can be seen that Ibsen draws our attention to the way a child is reared in a family, and the heredity and environment that a child inherits. Torvald too criticizes Nora when he says, "I ought to have foreseen it. All your father's want of principle--be silent! --All your father's want of principle has come out in you." Her upbringing, and her marriage to Torvald seal her fate and she just shifts from one father to the other. She is dehumanized as Torvald also addresses her with an umpteen number of epithets, hardly calling her by her name. Nora’s pride is hurt when he says that her nature is a direct result of her gender. Like other men, he has a prejudiced and a biased viewpoint for women. He often says,” Nora, my Nora, that is just like a woman.” Ibsen’s stress on the pronoun “my” shows how possessive and assertive Torvald is. “My little skylark” and “my squirrel” show that he treats his wife like “little birds that like to fritter money,” It becomes known to the audience that Torvald is a man who sets much value to appearance than reality. His wife is a trophy to him and she must know how to appear in the society. In his eyes Nora does not have any identity more than that she has to do her domestic duties, and beautify her house. He acts like her second father, and keeps her subservient and subjugated to him. Given all this, it is not strange that Nora will one day search for her identity, and by searching for it she makes alive the adage that every woman has a right to equality, liberty and fraternity.