Nora's Exit in "A Doll's House"With all the conflict adding up until Nora's exit, was Nora's exit plausible?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Nora's ability to exit when she does is plausible. The plot has been moving to this point throughout the play. Once the secret of the IOU note is out, and Torvald shows Nora what truly matters to him more than anything else (his reputation), Nora's enlightenment seems a logical next and final step.

However, I believe it is because Nora is being unrealistic and selfish, even having been warned by Kristine Linde about how hard it is for a woman alone "on the outside," that Nora goes; and even worse, that she abandons her children. If Nora is not the most important thing to Torvald who cares for himself more than anything, isn't Nora, in some ways, just as guilty in putting her own welfare before that of her children who will now be raised by another woman not their mother?

It is plausible, but I have difficulties with Nora's "exit, stage left."

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of the play comes at the end, when Nora leaves.  Because the action keeps building in the play up until the very end, and because Nora feels more and more used, taken advantage of, and grossly underappreciated as the play goes on, it is certainly possible to believe she would leave her husband, yes.  What is rather surprising, however, is that she also left her children.  As a mother myself, that is hard to fathom; however, Nora had been belittled and treated so poorly her husband that she felt smothered and trapped; therfore, she felt that she had to leave everything behind.

podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, for one, have always found the ending of this play to be troublesome. Nora's metamorphosis from a "doll" to an independent thinker who leaves her husband is too quick and too complete to be plausible. Nora has always survived by flirting and flattering men; however, once she is betrayed by Torvald, she suddenly thinks and speaks with great clarity about gender roles, women's rights, and her identity as an individual. Ibsen does not hint at these opinions beforehand, but Nora could certainly not have developed them in the course of one evening.

writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree. The character development of Nora is not consistent with her exit. When teaching this and asking my students about the ending, the majority said that she would be back with Torvald within two weeks. Throughout the play, she willfully accepts the position of being "the doll" and never acts dissatisfied with it. Furthermore, she shows a complete naivete when it comes to understand the way that society operates, adding to the assumption that she can not survive in the course that Ibsen sends her on.

tmcdermott | Student

Nora was trying to be an adult while trying to find herself, her exsit was immature yes, but it was correct. i would do the same thing if i finally realized that im nothing but a pet to my husband.

luthi | Student

Nora's exit was very plausible.  All of the the problems in her life have been buildig up and growing in number up until the final scene.  Her entire life is balanced precariously upon Krogstad's decisions.  When all those worries disappear, Nora finally has a chance to think about her life.  Torvald has shown her how he really feels and her life will not be the same.  That is when she decides to leave.  I may not agree with her decision, but it makes perfect sense to me.

friscoyank1 | Student

It is not okay for Nora to selfishly abondon her life because she is not longer happy. It is her responsiblity as a parent to do everything she can to be there for her kids.

misosaki | Student

It was very plausable. So what if she is making a mistake? At least she is making her OWN mistakes. Finally nothing connected to Torvald's thinking for once. She is finally using her own thoughts to control her actions, and not by thinking materialistically. She is stepping outside her perfect world and she does not know what is out there. I also agree with Erik in the fact that it was destined because of the 'Sins of our Fathers'.

atramutolo | Student

While it may have seemed to be a rash and irresponsible decision, Nora's exit was completely plausible. Her method of living was poisonous to her and her family. She was completely numb to any sort of emotion; she felt no love for her husband or children. She saved herself by allowing herself to get some sense of self and independence, but she also saved her family by removing the poison from their lives. If she would have stayed, the family would continue their lives as lifeless "dolls."

jthrall | Student

When Nora slams the ''door heard round the world", she is in fact shying away from any possiblility of maturity. This moment is mistakingly viewed as the apex of her individuation when, in fact, she is moving away from her newfound maturity and is falling back into the childish state.  Any person can have a tantrum and run away from what threatens them, but a person that has accomplished true maturity has the courage to address what is forcing them away. The tragedy of "A Doll's House" is that nothing is accomplished or changed. Nora came incredibly close to outgrowing her childish ways and yet, in her cowardice, failed.

jwengraf | Student

In the end,I do not believe that Nora's exit was plausible.  I agree that it was vital for Nora to find herself as an individual and a woman; however, I feel that she went about it in the wrong way.  One figures out who they really are deep down by the way they interact with others and overcome obstacles.  One does not find oneself by running away from his or her life.  Once Nora realized that she had to think for herself, she could have put that new idea to the test while still supporting her family.  In fact, Nora could have shared her new knowledge with her family and possibly saved them from a doll's life.  Instead, she selfishly walked out on her husband and her children.

erikdeleon | Student

Nora's final exit scene was indeed necessary and very plausible. Most of us tend to forget that this play is just that, a play. The fact that Ibsen created this play by himself and was not based on someone's life is something you should take into consideration when you answer a question like this. All throughout the play Ibsen sets us up with the theme of "We inherit the sins of our fathers". Just as Nora's mother left her, and her father died, Nora must do this for her children. In the scene where Nora gives her daughter a doll, she sets up the framework for the final scene. All in all, Nora was destined to leave because of how the play was set up to be and because Nora had to show how she had matured and grown her OWN identity.

acullum | Student

Nora's exit was a necessary act that should have happened much earlier though was not possible due to her inability to recognize the unhealthy position she was in. Her desire for money and materialistic things put her in a disguise and she was not revealed until the latter part of the book when she began to discover herself understand that everything about her was fake and unhappy. Previous to her exit, the only thing she knew was to act like the "doll" and be subject to the over-powering males in her life. In order to truly find herself and become strong and independent, she needed to break off all connections with her old life and this is exactly what she did.

danigoettl | Student

It was plausible because leaving is what Nora needed to do long before she actually did it.  She had been treated as a doll by her father and then her husband, so it was all she ever knew.  She finally realized she needed to end this, and discontinue the line of mistreatment.  She needed to go find out who she really was, discover the woman she had to potential to be without Torvald.  The only way to do this was to leave.

englishbrooke | Student

Yes it was! Nora absolutely had to leave to salvage the rest of her life. She no longer could be the "doll." It is time to take off and do what is right and fair. It is time for Torvald to realize that all the money and power in the world cannot buy him love. It is time for her children to grow up and face reality;something that Nora is just understanding. Honestly, if one does not stand up for him or herself, who will?

samuelperkins | Student

Though, we shouldn't forget Nora's departure meant that she would finally develop an identity. To be human is to know you are human. Nora had been entirely consumed by the sins of her father and Torvald's grasp. She began the marriage at a young age, thus, stopped the process of her growth. No woman or man can help others until they have helped themsleves; Nora needs to understand who she is before pretending to be her husband's wife or her children's mother. A mother isn't a mother until she knows she is a mother. Another point that can be made is that Nora had to leave the house in order to SAVE her children. Nora inherited the sins of her father: greed, careless spender and treating her family like play things. The only way to destroy the system and ensure her children don't do the same is to exit the doll's house, become a human and hope her children follow in her fateful footsteps.

myrapixler | Student

I think that Nora's exit was plausible because it was the only way for her to experience genuine independence. Torvald had her in a cage and tried to control her like she was his pet. He called her various pet names like "singing lark" and "squirrel." He had her completely under his submission to the extent that her only form of escape would be to leave entirely. It was even necessary for her to leave her children because they were a part of Torvald as well. In order to become the independent woman she decided she wanted to be, Nora had to escape from the firm grip Torvald had on her.