In Ibsen's play A Doll's House, characterize Nora's decision to leave: Is she justified? How do the children influence this decision?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, for the most part, Nora decides to leave her husband and her children because of her discovery of her own profound ignorance.  Throughout the course of the play, Nora discovers that Torvald is not the man she believed him to be.  Nora believed him when he told her that he has often wished that she “might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life’s blood, everything, for your sake” [Act II].  Instead, when Torvald learned that Nora forged the signature on a loan, Torvald didn’t stop to think at all of the danger his wife may be in and how to save her, instead he thought only of how her actions ruined his own reputation.  He also refused to even see how she had forged the loan in order to save his life.  Nora decided to leave her husband because she suddenly saw how truly selfish, narrow minded, and unloving he is and felt amazed that she could have been so ignorant of who he truly was.  Nora was justified in leaving a husband she felt she never knew.


Nora also decides to leave the children because of her ignorance.  She deceived her husband and her children all these years about her actions and no longer felt justified to remain in her children’s presence.  But not only that, Nora suddenly realized that all these years she had only been adopting her father’s and husband’s opinions and felt she didn’t really know herself at all.  She also felt ignorant of how society truly is.  It is because of all her ignorance that she decides she is not fit to raise her children.