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Escape From A Dollhouse

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					Escape From A Dollhouse
Escape From A Doll House We have all felt the need to be
alone or to venture to places that our minds have only
imagined. However, we as individuals have always found
ourselves clutching to our responsibilities and obligations, to
either our jobs or our friends and family. The lingering feeling
of leaving something behind or of promises that have been
unfulfilled is a pain that keeps us from escaping. People
worldwide have yearned for a need to leave a situation or
seek spiritual fulfillment elsewhere. The need for one’s
freedom and their responsibility to others can make or break
a person. Henrik Isben’s inspirational characters of Nora
Helmer, Kristine Linde, and Nils Krogstad have all had to
suffer for their right to be individuals and to be accountable
for their actions. A woman of the tough Victorian period,
Nora Helmer was both a prisoner of her time as well as a
pioneer. In her society women were viewed as an inferior
species and were not even considered real human beings in
the eyes of the law. Nora and other women soon discovered
that it was a man’s world and they were just not allowed to
participate in it. Women of that era though, were allowed to
stay at home and adhere to their tired, overworked spouse’s
needs, not to mention their constant obligation to their
children. Women in those days were only allowed to work
solely at home or to have minor jobs such as maids or
dressmakers. Nora was a free spirit just waiting to be freed;
her husband Torvald would constantly disallow the slightest
pleasures that she aspired to have, such as macaroons. Nora
lived a life of lies in order to hold her marriage together. She
kept herself pleased with little things such as telling Dr. Rank
and Mrs. Linde; “I have such a huge desire to say-to hell
and be damned!” (Isben 59) Just so she could release some
tension that was probably building inside her due to all the
restrictions that Torvald had set up, such as forbidding
macaroons. The need for her to consume these macaroons
behind her controlling husband’s back was a way for her to
satisfy her sense of needing to be an independent woman.
Upon the arrival of her old friend Kristine Linde, Nora took
it upon herself to find her friend a job since she had gone
through a lot in her life. She asked her husband Torvald,
who also happened to be the new manager at the bank if
Kristine could have a job and he responded with an
afirmative response. Mrs. Helmer had also stated that she
had single handedly saved her husband’s life when she took
out a loan for his benefit. However, in those days women
were unable to get a loan without their husband’s consent or
another male’s signature, so Nora took it upon herself to
forge her father’s signature in order to secure the welfare of
Torvald. She saw it as her obligation as a loving wife to
break the law so she would be able to save a life, especially
when it was the life of her husband. Others though saw it as
a criminal offence; Nils Krogstad for example accused Nora
of violating the law to which Nora replied: “This I refuse to
believe. A daughter hasn’t the right to protect her dying
father from anxiety and care? A wife hasn’t the right to save
her husband’s life? I don’t know much about laws but I’m
sure that somewhere in the books these things are allowed.
And you don’t know anything about it-you who practice the
law? You must be an awful lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.” (Isben
67) Nora saw the law as something which, stood in the way
of her responsibility to her family not to mention to herself.
If
she were to of told her ill father about her situation
concerning Torvald’s health he could have died due to stress
of hearing this news. If she had spoken to Torvald about his
illness he would have forbidden her from carrying it on
because he wouldn’t want to be in debt to a women, and
more importantly his wife; his pride as a male would have
been crushed. It was her responsibility that she did not
disclose that information to Torvald because of the
repercussions it would bring. At the conclusion of the play
Nora knows that her secret will be revealed and awaits
Torvald’s reaction to it. When she learns that her marriage
was a sham and it was a one sided, playful wedlock she
decided to leave Torvald. Torvlad makes many futile
attempts to make her stay concerning her duties to her
husband and children to which Nora tells him that she has
other duties; duties to herself. Torvald pleads with her that
before all else; she is his wife and the mother of their
children, to which Nora says: “ I don’t believe in that
anymore. I believe that, before all else, I’m a human being,
no less than you-or anyway I ought to try to become one. I
know the majority thinks you’re right, Torvald, and plenty of
books agree with you, too. But I can’t go on being satisfied
with what the majority says, or what’s written in books. I
have to think over these things myself and try to understand
them.” (Isben 111) In her leaving and the abandoning of her
family and the memories that coincide with them, Nora was
able to gain her freedom as an individual and was now in
search for new responsibilities. Other people seek out
independence and accountability through personal
experience and by themselves. Kristine Linde, a childhood
friend of Nora has had to strive for all that she wanted. In
her past she had at one time had a serious relationship with
Mr. Krogstad, but due to circumstances beyond her power
she had to give up her life with him. It was all due to her
mother’s ailment and her obligation to her younger brothers
that she had to take it upon herself to marry a wealthy man
so she could make her mother’s last days enjoyable. With all
the extra money she could afford to help her brothers and
live the good life. This though all came crashing down on her
when her husband died and she was left a penniless widow.
She took it on herself to work in a man’s world and be
faced with the obstacles that would constantly confront her.
She became a teacher and worked many odd jobs before
Torvald gave her a job in his bank. She sees Nora as the
ideal wife, and as everything that she wants to be. Kristine
believes that Nora has had it easy in life in comparison to
her, Kristine has had to fulfill her obligations to her family
not
to mention herself while suffering long years of unhappiness
in a marriage to a man she did not love. Kristine then hears
of all the trouble that Nora had gone through and the secrets
that she had to keep and attempts to right the wrong that
Krogstad is trying to do to her. Mrs. Linde feels slightly
responsible for what Krogstad is doing because of what she
had did to him in the past. She believes that if she had not
left him he would have never of become this sly individual
who is not only pestering one of her friends but blackmailing
her as well. Mrs. Linde attempts to get Krogstad to
withdraw his letter to Torvald concerning all of Nora’s
secrets. During their conversation she admits her love for
him, not only because she felt responsible for his current
situation but she also felt that she needed to fulfill the
responsibility to her heart and her emotional wellbeing.
Kristine tells Nils that: “I have to work to go on living. All
my born days, as long as I can remember, I’ve worked, and
it’s been my best and my only joy. But now I’m completely
alone in the world, so terribly lost and forsaken. To work for
yourself-there’s no joy in that. Nils, give me
something-someone to work for.” (Isben 96) She is ever
constantly striving for no one but herself and it is hurting her
inside. Telling Krogstad about her feelings towards him frees
her from all the years of guilt and sets up a new beginning for
her. Kristine begins her new life by not holding on to lies and
tells Krogstad not to take back his letter but instead, leave it
there so the truth can be revealed. In her rekindled
relationship with Krogstad, Kristine had learned that a
healthy relationship must go on without lies. She believes that
“Helmer’s got to learn everything; this dreadful secret has to
be aired; those two have to come to a full understanding; all
these lies and evasions can’t go on.” (Isben 97) She has the
forethought to see that Nora’s lies will only cause her pain
and like Torvald said “Because that kind of atmosphere of
lies infects the whole life of a home. Every breath the
children take is filled with the germs of something
degenerate.” (Isben 70) Which in time might prove to be
true and would eventually be the cause of their separation.
Finally, other people have had to fight for their freedom and
therefore accept responsibility for their actions, just like
Nils
Krogstad. Mr. Krogstad was once a good man until his
world fell apart when Kristine dumped him. It was due to a
rash action of his that his reputation had been tarnished, his
case never went to court but all doors were closed to him
and he took up some corrupt activities to support himself.
He felt quite responsible for his actions and for the sake of
his sons he wanted to reform and started the process with
his job at the bank. When his position was threatened he
took it on himself to first ask Nora to persuade her husband
to let him keep his job. When that failed he decided to
blackmail her and do it legally; he as a lawyer knew that
Nora had committed forgery when she took out a loan and it
was his responsibility to report it. This all changed when
Kristine had the opportunity to speak with him alone during
the Helmer’s party. There in the secret blanket of the dark,
Kristine was able to convince Krogstad that she still truly
loved him and because of her announcement he deduced
that he had wronged the Helmer’s entirely wondering “Oh, if
only I could take it all back.” (Isben 97) Kristine then
informs Krogstad that he can still take his letter back, but
after he decides to demand his letter back; Kristine tells him
that he can’t and that the truth must be revealed. With a new
lust for life and responsibility to his new life with Kristine,
he
agrees. In finding a renewed life with Kristine, Nils Krogstad
has been granted the freedom from his past that he
constantly awaited and has found his new responsibility to
his children and to Mrs. Linde. We all have wanted to go
out on our own and fulfill our responsibility to ourselves.
However our need to find our individuality can lead to our
downfall or in most cases our uprising. In Isben’s play A
Doll House, an estranged wife, Nora Helmer; an
independent working woman, Kristine Linde; and a morally
corrupt man, Nils Krogstad, had all suffered to become
individuals in their own right and have taken accountability
for their actions to achieve their freedom.