In A Doll's House is Nora the only "doll" in the play?

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akasha124 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nora is the most obvious doll in the play, as she's the main protagonist and much is made about the way her husband treats her and the "pet" names he calls her and the childish way she sometimes acts, but you can take this to a more extreme conclusion where *everyone* in the play is a doll and society acts as the puppetmaster.

Torvald seems to be completely unaware of any sort of longings past what middle class comfort has to offer, and seems not to think about anything but the way others in society see him, so he's more than happy to do what he's "supposed" to do to please society.

Trying to reject the puppetmaster means that you are rejected in turn by society and have no choice but to live on the outskirts in isolation and in poor health, as Kristine and Krogstad do.  This is especially noticeable in comparison to Dr. Rank who is dying of syphilis and his organs are literally rotting away, but he is "dolled" up and still seems in good health and appears to be living the good life because he still does what he's supposed to in society.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way of understanding the play is to argue that the family structure of traditional patriarchal nineteenth-century western culture turns everyone into a  sort of "doll." 

If one thinks about dolls, they are objects onto which owners project their wishes and desires and fantasies, and they have no agency of their own. They are dressed up with costumes and accessories to become part of an owner's own narrative and have an identity projected upon them. 

While the most obvious of these "doll" relationships is that of Torvald to Nora, there is a way in which Nora reciprocates by not being honest with Torvald and projecting on to him the conventional masculine breadwinner role.

The children also are treated almost like dolls, with the presents such as a suit and sword for the children that are precisely the sort of accessories with which one might dress up a doll. There is even among the presents something for Emmy (Nora's daughter): "a doll and dolly's bedstead". 

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A Doll's House

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