A Doll's House Questions and Answers
by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House book cover
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In the first act of A Doll's House what are your impressions of Torvald, Christina, Nora, and their marriages?

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On the face of it, it initially appears that Nora and Torvald have a fairly conventional middle-class marriage by the standards of the time. Torvald is indisputably the head of the house, the family's sole bread-winner, and treats Nora as little more than an overgrown child who needs to be wrapped in cotton wool and protected from the big bad world outside. Torvald insists on using a variety of pet-names for his wife, which are as nauseating as they are condescending.

Nevertheless, given the general point that Ibsen's making about the condition of women in contemporary society, it's not unreasonable to infer that this is by no means an uncommon arrangement. And what's more it's an arrangement to which married women, for the most part, conform without question. In the early stages of the play, Nora shows no outward signs of resentment towards her condition or the patronizing way she is treated by Torvald. It's only later on that the scales will fall from her eyes and she will...

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