In the play "A Doll's House", Henrik Ibsen illustrated the believable and remarkable transformation that Nora underwent. She made the extraordinary journey from one of little power, and even less influence; living within a world in which she was only a possession and a doll, to one of intellectual maturity, and decisiveness; one who was looking to find a world in which she could be an equal person, and one who could discover who she herself truly was. Nora lived with her family, in a household where her husband, Torvald, was the one who held the true power and dominance above all. As his wife, she was simply another of his possessions, one who in his view, lived only for him, and was expected to conduct herself in such a manner that would please him, regardless of her personal sentiments. Although Torvald treated her as one below him, perhaps as one might treat a child, Nora originally found that it was easier to fill this place of a child, and to fulfill the wishes of her husband, than to strike out, and attempt to take her place as a being on even footing.
Nora lived in a time where the world considered it socially acceptable to be treated in such a way. In fact, it would be considered amiss should she act in any way contrary to this submissive silence and obedience. When Torvald fell deathly ill, it was Nora who made the sacrifices necessary for the return of his health. She surrendered her honor and pride, committed forgery, and went against the very principals by which her husband lived, through borrowing an immense amount of money, and acquiring a monstrous debt. All this was done for the sake of love. Yet Nora's sentiments were not returned on the same level.
Her husband admired her, and was happy to know that he had her to himself, as a possession. But he was in love with the idea of being in love with her, and not with Nora, as an actual human being with both feelings and opinions. Nora came to this realization through the observation of Torvald's unwillingness to forgive her for borrowing the money that saved his own life. He was not prepared to make the same sacrifices of honor and pride that Nora had made for him.
This could never create the basis for a marriage in which both members were of equal footing. Nora had lived her entire life in a household with such a setting. She had never truly been herself; only what others around her had wished, and commanded her to be. She had lived for the sake of others, and not for herself. Firstly for her father, and now for her husband. As a mother, she had only been another child, who played with them, and spent time with them, but who was not an actual role model.
She had never been expected to be anything more than a child. She could not govern others, when she herself did not know who she actually was, or what her true values were. Nora realized that she needed to escape this life of falsity in which she was simply one of her husband's dolls living within the doll's house. It was this believable and sensible journey of self actualization that allowed Nora to decide her destiny lay elsewhere. The overcoming of her previous sentiments, allowed for the opening of the door to a new world for Nora, and the commencement of a new life, with a fresh opportunity to discover her inner self and acquire the experience she lacked.