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As a wife, Nora Helmer is extremely complaisant. She goes out of her way to please her husband, to the point of acting in a way that does not entirely concur with the way that she sees herself. Nora only thinks that she enjoys being Torvald's play thing. She thinks this way because in her society women are expected to do as the husband wishes. However, in the end, she realizes that she is far from the woman that she has portrayed as a doll. As such, she must remove that woman away in order to grow.
Nora. As I am now, I am no wife for you.
Helmer. I have it in me to become a different man.
Nora. Perhaps--if your doll is taken away from you.
Helmer. But to part!--to part from you! No, no, Nora, I can't understand that idea.
As a mother, Nora is over-indulgent. She places their care entirely in the hands of their governess, but she brings them out from time to time to indulge and play with them. She does this because it is all part of the same charade that she unwittingly creates to satisfy the ego of her husband, as well as the image that she has created of herself. This image is based on the "feedback" she gets from her husband, where she gets love in exchange for trivial entertainment. This is when she gets called "lark", "squirrel", and other saccharine names. Again, she will come to realize this and feel horrid about herself in the last act.
I was your little skylark, your doll, which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care, because it was so brittle and fragile. (Getting up.) Torvald--it was then it dawned upon me that for eight years I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children--. Oh, I can't bear to think of it! I could tear myself into little bits!
As a woman, up until the end, Nora is self-deprecating. She has allowed for Torvald to take over her personality. The tragic problem here is that Nora knows this to a much familiar level, but she continues to deny it to herself. It is not until the end, when she recognizes that she will get no validation from Torvald-ever- that she realizes that such validation can only come from within.
Helmer- No man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.
Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.
Helmer. Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.
Only she can empower herself. Only she can take charge of Nora. This is why, in a controversial move for her time, she leaves everything behind and moves on.
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