What is the significance of masks and masquerading in "A Doll's House"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nora keeps up a facade every day that she lives. She pretends to be happy when in fact she is not. She wears a mask just as she would wear to the masquerade ball.

Nora lives in a man's world. She has no rights. She has no identity. She is

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Nora lives in a man's world. She has no rights. She has no identity. She isTorvald's wife and her children's mother. Nora does not really know who she is. She sings like lark, all in an appearance to be happy. She plays games and does whatever she can to please her husband, Torvald. She risks her own reputation by borrowing money to save Torvald's life.

Everything Nora does is based on pretense. She borrows the money behind Torvald's back. She does not desire to upset him but she knows she must save his life.

Nora carries around the heavy burden along with the stresses involved in being in debt. She manages to pay on the debt but she must keep secrets from Torvald for she wishes not to anger him or worry him.

Nora is living in a pretend world. She does not have any authority. In the nineteenth century, women were seen as pretty objects or possessions with no merit or value. Nora is intellectually handicapped due to living in a man's world. Her husband does not see the business sense she really has. He does not respect her intellect. He does not appreciate how valuable she really is.

Truly, Nora keeps up appearances. She pretends to be happy. She wears a mask to hide her feelings and emotions. Nora feels she must be the perfect wife:

Nora is the "doll" wife of Torvald. She is sensitive, sensible, and completely unaware of her own worth until the last act of the play. She initially appears flighty and excitable. Nora is most concerned with charming her husband and being the perfect wife.

By the end of the story, Nora's eyes are opened. She takes off her mask. Ultimately, she leaves Torvald and sets out on a journey to find her true self.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Explain and elaborate on the importance of masks and masquerading in A Doll's house.

In A Doll's House, the masquerade party is symbolic in that Nora wears a mask daily. She keeps up a facade on a regular basis. She pretends she is happy when she is not. She cannot even eat a macaroon without Torvald scolding her for it.

Ultimately, Nora has had enough of Torvald's games. She is tired of playing house. She cannot pretend to be his doll any longer. She must find her own identity. In so doing, she must leave Torvald first. When she slams the door, she is opening herself up to a new life, one in which she can find her own identity.

The foreshadowing of Nora's change at the end of the play happens when she is talking with Dr. Rank earlier in the play in Act I. She insists that she is going to tell Torvald what she is really thinking. About this time, Torvald comes out of his office, and Dr. Rank says, "Say it. Here he is." Nora says nothing.

This is an indication that Nora is not happy. For this reason, the author indicates that Nora's leaving is a necessity and is the right thing to do. The author causes the reader to sympathize with Nora. Torvald is obnoxious. It is easy for the reader to dislike Torvald. When Nora slams the door to leave, the reader is relieved for Nora's sake.

Posted on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Explain and elaborate on the importance of masks and masquerading in A Doll's house.What is the significance of masking in Doll's House? How is Nora's change at the end foreshadowed? Why does Ibsen see Nora leaving her family not only a necessity but the right thing to do also

The image or idea of masking is important in Henrik Ibsen's play "A Doll's House". The idea stems from the fact that Nora is living, basically, a double life.

Torvald treats Nora like one of their children. Nora finds it necessary to hide certain things from her husband. Not only does she hide trivial things, such as her candies, she hides things which will either help or harm her family.

Nora has taken out a loan to pay for bills that Torvald could not. It is her fear that the piling up of bills will break down the comfort she finds in her family. Therefore, Nora exists as two people: one, the child-like wife of Torvald and two, as the woman who takes control of her families finances even though it was unheard of during the time.

The mask represents an image of Nora which she wishes for her husband to keep. It is of the utmost importance that Nora keeps the loan a secret from Torvald so that he does not look at her differently. Above all else, Nora wishes to maintain Torvald's care-taking of her.

Last Updated on