A Doll’s House is a play Henrik Ibsen which features
characters such as Torvald, Norah, Dr. Rank, and Krogstad among others. The
movie brings out Norah and Torvald Helmer to be the main characters in the
film. At the beginning of the movie, the Helmer family seems to be happy
together despite the fact that Torvald speaks to Norah in a demeaning manner,
yet she doesn’t appear to mind. Torvald gets a new job as a manager at a bank,
and the family becomes happier since they will not have to worry about money anymore.
The story also introduces Christine as Norah’s old friend who comes searching
for work with hopes that Torvald will hook her up.

As the film continues, Norah confesses of her debt to
Krogstad to Christine but does not mention that it was Krogstad’s debt. Norah
from Krogstad had borrowed the money to fund a one-year family trip to Italy
hence it was warmer in Italy as per the doctor’s prescription to Torvald who
had been sick from overwork. Apparently, Krogstad was an employee of the bank
before Torvald took over and as the manager, he replaces Krogstad with
Christine. Krogstad becomes furious and threatens to expose Norah’s debt and
the way it was acquired if Norah would not convince her husband to let Krogstad
keep his job. Torvald refuses to say that Krogstad was a dishonest employee who
forged signatures and that Torvald disliked and despised such people saying
that they should not be allowed near the kids since they would corrupt the
kids. Torvald’s statement makes Norah freak out to the extent that she doesn’t
want to go near the kids afraid that she would corrupt them.

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The film also introduces Dr. Rank as a family friend to the
Helmer’s and depicts that he is dying from Tuberculosis. Also, the situation
between Norah and Krogstad worsens since Krogstad sends a blackmail letter to
Torvald who doesn’t open it since they have a party to attend with Norah. In
the process, Christine and Krogstad agree to get married on condition that
Krogstad does not harm Norah’s family and Christine suggests that Krogstad
should not withdraw the blackmail letter so that the truth in the family can be
revealed. When Torvald learns of Christine’s past actions, he is furious with
her to the extent of not allowing her to be with the kids and is also afraid of
the blackmail until Krogstad assures them that he has withdrawn the extortion.
Torvald forgives Norah, but she insists on leaving claiming that she had never
been anything more than a doll in Torvalds’ eyes and that their marriage was
not genuine.

Character Analysis: Norah Helmer

      
i.         
Physical
Aspect

In Scene 1, Trovald berates the physical appearance of Norah
by calling her his ‘little sweet tooth’ when he was asking her, “Has my sweet
little tooth been indulging herself in town today by any chance (Isben 9)?” As
such, Norah was depicted as little in the eyes of her husband and probably even
in those of the audience. This demeaning goes to the extent that she sneaks
macaroons to avoid eating them in front of her husband for the fear that he
might not approve.

More so, Torvald is particularly clear on Norah’s figure
claiming that she ought to stay dainty, small and delicate. This aspect brings
out the male’s role in their society where it depicts that the male should
always be superior and in control. It doesn’t matter to Torvald whether it was
Norah’s image he was to control or the forgery of Norah’s father’s signature
since the act angers Trovald a lot. According to Torvald, his reputation and
that of Norah are the most crucial things in the world and should be guarded
against harm by all means (Isben

    
ii.         
Moral
Aspect

Norah is depicted as such a loving and caring wife to
Torvald. She learns of her husband’s illness and the degree of seriousness from
the doctor, and she is advised to ensure that they take a holiday trip to a
warmer region since it is the only means of saving her husband’s life. Since
the family was not wealthy, she decides to take a loan to fund their trip to
Italy to save her husband’s life. She even goes to the extent of forging her
father’s signature and trying to pay off the debt on her own later when Trovald
gets better. She sacrifices herself that much despite her feeling of being
denied freedom by both her father and her husband where she says, “I

passed out of daddy’s hand into yours (Isben 56).”

Also, she is a loyal and faithful friend. When Christine
approaches her requesting her to ask her husband to hook Christine up with a
job, she is completely confident in her husband’s decision and assures
Christine saying, “And so he shall, Kristine. Just leave things to me (Isben
14).”

Norah is also seen to be tenacious and daring. This is
brought out by the part where she forged her father’s signature to acquire the
loan. It took a fearless person to go against the law to save someone she loves

  
iii.         
Societal
Aspect

Ibsen displays Norah as both wise and childish where these
aspects have emerged to be her strongest qualities. Her wisdom is not based on
knowledge acquired from books nor those from doctrines. This aspect has been
proven by the instance where her practical education was injured by her father
and her husband, yet she was able to retain enough native wisdom to identify
and confront emergencies. She can think of forging a signature to acquire the
loan she seeks to save her husband hence showing how unsophisticated and
independent she is at thought (Isben 45).

Also, she can discern that her duties to her family come
before anything else in the world through taking the risk of going against the
law to save her husband’s life. As such, despite the society’s aspect of a man
being superior and control over women, Norah proves that the society’s norms
were not more important than her family since the society would not be complete
and whole if people did not look after their families.

  
iv.         
Psychological
Aspect

Norah is introduced in the play as a quite a cheerful and
happy character as she goes around her duty of preparing for Christmas. Norah
is far from being happy due to the secrets she is hiding from her husband as
well as the burden she has to bear of paying a loan she borrowed for her
husband’s sake. She sacrifices herself too much for her husband and even goes
to the extent of breaking the rules through fraud to acquire the loan to save
her husband’s life. To show how much she cares, she says that, “And besides,
how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly
independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual
relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is
now (Isben 23).”

To make matters worse, her suffering is intensified when she
realizes that her husband loves only himself and his image and does not love
his wife as much. Social attitudes and gender roles are all her husband cares
about. Torvald says that “From this moment happiness is not the question; all
that concerns us is to save the remains, the fragments, the appearance (Isben
101).” Torvald is not only ashamed of Norah’s actions but is also afraid
of the damage to his reputation that would result from their divorce.  As a result, Norah is unable to withstand the
psychological suffering she had been going through and decided to walk out on
her marriage, her children, and the dollhouse.

Conclusion

Briefly, the essay has successfully analyzed the main
character in the play, Norah, basing the discussion on the four levels of
characterization which include the societal, psychological, moral, and physical
aspects. Norah is displayed as a wise, strong, tenacious, daring, loving and
caring individual who goes to extreme ends to save her husband’s life, yet he
does not appreciate any of her actions and instead reprimands her for them. As
such, she opts to finally walk out on her marriage since she grown tired of
being treated like a doll and wants to be independent.