A doll house by Henrik Ibsen is a modern drama whose characters fail to understand who they really are. The theme of self-discovery can be viewed throughout the entire play. Nora's character plays an important role in self-discovery. She is a dynamic character who proves at the end of the play that she accept and discovers who the true Nora is.
The play begins with a direct emphasis on Nora and her husband (Torvald) relationship. One can easily assume that their relationship is based on material things and status. It appears that money is the one thing which is keeping their marriage what is considered to be happy. Throughout the first act Torvald immediately begins referring to his wife with childlike names. In the first opening lines he refers to Nora as "my squirrel". Throughout the play, Torvald continues to uses nick names such as "little song bird", "skylark", "odd little one" and many more belittling names.
The usage of the above nicknames shows that Torvald feels superior to Nora. He wants to keep her small and under him. For this reason, he continues to refer to Nora in this manner throughout the play. Torvald and Nora's relationship can be viewed at first as a happy and pleasant one. At the same time one may view their relationship as that of the ordinary.
Torvald does not see Nora as an equal. He fails to realize that she is a woman and not a child. He continues to speak to her in a childish manner because he views her for her appearance and not for who she really is. It is clearly presented that Torvald takes his position as being superior because he feels that Nora is dependent on him. He believes she is narrow minded and ignorant because she is a woman.
In the first act it is also indicated that money plays an important role throughout the play. Nora proves to be an insensitive and self-centered woman when she is visited by her old friend Mrs. Linde. Her first ignorant questions were whether Mrs. Linde husband left her any money or children. Mrs. Linde states that she was left penniless and that she has struggled.
Nora being the self-centered person that she is begins bragging of her good fortune and forgets to acknowledge Mrs. Linde struggles. The above scene provides a vivid understanding of the type of person Nora is sought out to be at first. The scene proves that Nora is indeed self-centered, ignorant and immature. Her journey to self-discovery will not only change her but will allow her to develop as a mature character.
As the play progresses Nora's character begins to undergo a visible change. She begins to go from an immature, self-centered person to a woman who is beginning to gain a sense of maturity. She is no longer viewed as an insensitive person. This change is demonstrated when Nora reveals her secret to Mrs. Linde. Nora explains that her life has also had its share of hardships.
Nora secretively took out a bank loan. In doing so, she went against her husband because she knew he was against loans. Although, Nora went against her husband her act is viewed as a selfless one because it was done in order to save her husbands life. Nora's action shows that she is caring and is capable of doing things on her own. The revelation of Nora's secret is her first step to self discovery. It also provides a foundation for the re-building of Nora & Mrs. Linde friendship.
Nora's character takes another toll when she is approached by Krogstad. Krogstad was aware that Nora had forged her father's signature. Forging the signature was the only way Nora was able to take out the loan. Although, Nora knows that forgery is a crime, she still takes pride in her actions.
Her pride is elevated because the act was done independently. On the other hand, Torvald still sees Nora as an ignorant person unable of doing anything on her own. Torvald in this scene expresses his disgust towards Krogstad because he can't understand why he would committee forgery. Ironically, Nora and Krogstad have committed the same crime. Nora begins to change through the different scenes which allow her to reveal her true self.
Nora's character is almost completely developed by the end of Act II. She is confronted with having to deal with her husband finding out her secret. Up to this point, one can see the change Nora has undergo. However, Torvald's character has remained static. He is still stuck on his belief that his home should be like a doll's house and that his wife is the doll within that house. It is in Act II that Nora compares living with Torvald to be similar to living with her father.
This comparison shows that Nora is beginning to realize that Torvald treats her like a child and not like a woman. At the end of the Act Nora comes to realize that her life is far from what is consider to be normal. This realization is brought forth because of everything she has gone through and has observed. Once Torvald is aware of Nora's actions he becomes enraged. He worries about the effect this will have on his reputation and not on the consequences his wife may have to face.
Through the unraveling of this secret is that Nora is finally able to understand who she is. Nora realizes that Torvald never loved her for who she was but for the things she did. Torvald loved her because she allowed him to play and control her as if she were real a doll. Nora begins to also understand that the love Torvald shared for her was the same to that of her father. Everything was based on what they felt was entertaining and not on loving Nora for who she is. The end of Act brings Nora to a complete self-discovery.
Nora has come to understand herself and the ones around her life. In conclusion, A Doll House is a modern drama which is derived on self- discovery and understanding. Nora had to take a stand and do something on her own in order to realize that she is capable of being independent. Through her actions she was able to discovery that there is more to her life than being a passive and untrue person. Nora was finally able to come to terms and let out her true self.