How is Nora and Torvald’s relationship portrayed in act 1 of A Doll’s House?

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In act 1 of A Doll's House, the dynamic of Nora and Torvald's relationship reflects overbearing patriarchal power.

The pet names which Torvald uses for his wife reflect his lack of respect towards her: "Little lark," "my squirrel," "little featherhead," and "Miss Sweet Tooth." He has established "rules"...

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In act 1 of A Doll's House, the dynamic of Nora and Torvald's relationship reflects overbearing patriarchal power.

The pet names which Torvald uses for his wife reflect his lack of respect towards her: "Little lark," "my squirrel," "little featherhead," and "Miss Sweet Tooth." He has established "rules" which Nora must follow, which includes forbidding her from eating sweets. When confronted about her snacking habits that day, Nora repeatedly lies to Torvald about the macaroons she has eaten. While this is a seemingly trivial detail of their day, the fact that Nora refuses to admit the truth demonstrates her need to avoid conflict with Torvald.

It also becomes clear that Nora relies on secrecy to maintain their marriage. She shares with Mrs. Linde that she has broken the law via forgery in order to obtain money which Torvald needed for medical treatment. She has managed to hide this truth from her husband, using part of the allowance he gives her to steadily repay the secret loan.

Regardless of the deceit, Nora and Helmer live a seemingly content married life in act 1. They are busily preparing for Christmas, and Nora seems content to play the role of a dutiful wife. She lovingly takes Torvald's arm, claps her hands in excitement regarding his plans, and graciously accepts the rather belittling pet names he uses for her. In short, Torvald expects that Nora will obey him and represent him well in society, and Nora is content to do so.

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