Discuss the Theme of Realisation in 'A Doll's House'

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Agnieszka Lovell

Discuss the Theme of Realisation in

‘A Doll’s House’

There are many themes in ‘A Doll’s House’, one of the major ones being the theme of realisation which affects every character in one way or another.

Obviously Nora is the character who’s realisation creates the ending of the story, but along the way all characters realise something about themselves or each other. Torvald is the last character that the theme of realisation affects and this only occurs due to Nora’s realisation of society and the world she lives in, as this really what the play is about.

‘A Doll’s House’ was written in 1879 and at the time caused a sensation. Although we cannot fully appreciate it the play was modern for its time, as back then walking out on your husband and family and having your own opinion as a woman was unheard of.

Nora’s character goes through a dramatic change at the end of the play, under extreme circumstances. Throughout the play, it is clear that she seems happy and pleased with the society that Torvald has created for her inside the house, for example: she obeys his instructions, like not eating macaroons. She is basically treated like a doll which Torvald plays with that has no knowledge of the outside world and is protected, or trapped, depending which way you look at it, in a house, the society that Torvald has created. The naivety of Nora and the fact that she has no idea of the outside world or life outside her own is clearly indicated, “”What do I care for your dreary old community?”. Also the fact that she has no opinion or mind of her own, but just listens to her husband, although normal at the time, is also visible, “I wouldn’t do anything that you don’t like”.

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 Although Nora doesn’t completely decide to leave until the very end she does think about it after the threatening conversation with Krogstad, as she wonders whether her children would mind her leaving “Do you think they’d forget their Mamma if she went away altogether?”.

Throughout the play Nora is erratic and unfocused this is especially clear when she rehearses the tarantella as the stage directions suggest “[Nora dances more and more wildly. Helmer….gives her frequent directions as she dances. She seems not to hear them, her hair comes down and falls over her shoulders, but she goes on dancing ...

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