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In what ways does Nora change from the beginning of the play The Doll's House to the...

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gracebutte | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 21, 2007 at 2:47 PM via web

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In what ways does Nora change from the beginning of the play The Doll's House to the end?

I guess I was just wondering the degree to which Nora's changes are positive or negative, and how these changes relate to the themes of the play.

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 21, 2007 at 6:54 PM (Answer #1)

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For the greater part of the play, Nora is just what her husband wanted. He delights in her flighty, birdlike personality. Nora is the perfect accessory for his career and lifestyle. Nora has kept secrets from him because she feels it is best not to upset him. Torvald is usually unaware of Nora, and in reality, treats her like a fond pet. He pats her head, has silly little names for her, and thinks she is the person he needs her to be.

Once Nora's secrets come out, Nora realizes these things about her husband. She has asked his forgiveness, explained why she took the loan, yet is rejected. Nora realizes that she is not a partner in her marriage, and leaves to establish a real identity for herself, not just that of wife and mother.

Nora finally tired of being little more than a plaything. She realized that she deserved a man who would love and accept her in all circumstances, and clearly Torvald was not that man.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 21, 2007 at 8:58 PM (Answer #2)

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The stage directions lay the groundwork for the changes in Nora: “At the back, a door to the right leads to the entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study.” These doors symbolize her dilemma, which concerns obedience to her husband, his office being the center of her world, or that door to the entrance, which at the end of the play becomes her exit from his world and her entrance to freedom. As the play closes, Helmer hears “The sound of a door shutting … from below” as Nora leaves his house and enters a new life. “only the most wonderful things” would have to happen for her to return to him with their marriage a “real wedlock,” she says, but she also says “I don’t believe any longer in wonderful things happening.” Nora “closing the door” has become symbolic in literature for a woman choosing a new life.

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