Theme Of Marriage In A Doll's House

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In ‘A Doll’s House’, Ibsen scrutinises the repressive nature of marriage by manipulating the Helmer’s marriage and the relationship between Krogstad and Mrs. Linde. Furthermore, he makes the 19th century audience consider the concept of real marriage and apply it to their societal norms.

Torvald is a primary example of a man who feels completely in control of his wife, as if she’s a material possession. Although problematic and displaying a clear power unbalance, their relationship seems harmless at the surface. In fact, Mr. Helmer is a husband more affectionate and tender to his wife than what was considered standard at the time. This veneer of love is shattered at their confrontation; Nora accuses him of having ‘never loved me’, ‘you only thought of how nice it was to be in love with me’. This emphasises Nora’s doll wife (modernly titled trophy wife) position. Torvald insists ‘she’s worth looking at’, suggesting that’s all her value. Although he admires her, he doesn’t truly love who she is. He can’t look past the fantasy of his wife, which is further portrayed when he admits to ‘pretending you are my young bride’ even though they had been married for eight years. He doesn’t know her well enough to love her because he can’t see her for her true self. His disclosing that ‘many’s the time I wish you were threatened by some terrible danger so I could risk everything … for your sake’, shows that his illusory view extends to their marriage as a whole, seeing as Torvald isn’t

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