A FEMINIST READING AND SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF HENRICK IBSEN’S ‘A DOLL’S HOUSE(3)

DOLL’S HOUSE(3)

Doesn’t it sound to a large extent obscure? It perplexes me, as to whether Nora was gibberish enough to undermine her sacrifice or that Helmer is that juvenile, where his male-ego would shatter into thousand pieces, when Nora’s audacious deed of sacrifice would strike him like a lightning in the sky, all of a sudden. Will he be displaced and relegated to the lurch? It is this version of a dupe whom Nora has venerated, since her marriage. When I view the other side of coin, I ponder as to what purpose it would have served Nora, even if she had consulted Helmer’s opinion to borrow loan from Krogstad. His obstinate nature would have prevented Nora from approaching Krogstad for a loan at the cost of his life. This possibility is of course unrealistic.

Nora undaunted by any trivial constraints forges her father’s signature and obtains the loan. Purpose true. Flaws apart. She’s been diligently repaying Krogstad the interest premium. Helmer oblivious of her dexterity furnishes her with redundant advice to employ thrift in household matters. He relentlessly lampoons her for being a spend thrift.

“It would be sensible if you really kept the money I give you, and actually bought something for yourself with it. But if it goes in with the housekeeping and gets spent on all sorts of useless things, then I only have to pay again”

Helmer ‘s advice would have been applicable if Nora was indeed a spendthrift, but she clearly evidences to Kristine Linde, the mortifications she has made on her personal requirements in order to pay off Krogstad’s debt. Helmer’s ego is exposed when he admits to Nora, that he would have easily dismissed Krogstad’s fraudulence in the bank, but for Krogstad’s annoying attitude of referring him by his first name, amidst his colleagues. The Doll’s House is not confined to Nora’s household alone. It holds good for any home where the male- ego inferiorizes the feminine self. The Doll’s House has to be burnt and when the smoke is cleared, the sanctity of marriage would permeate our lives until ‘death do us apart.’

Nora’s metamorphosis from a ‘doll’ to an enterprising woman may at times seem to be cinematic. On retrospection, it dawns to me that it is certainly audacious of Nora to have borrowed money from Krogstad and having succinctly repaid it in installments. Therefore Nora’s decision to walk out of the marriage is not instantly stimulated by Ibsen. If Helmer has made a doll out of Nora, she has exposed him as a cad. There is a strong kinship of female bonding between Nora and Kristine Linde. She is the first person to whom Nora discloses her smoldering sacrifice. Kristine Linde demands certain amount of poise for shouldering the responsibility of her family unaided. Perchance Nora would have drawn her inspiration to abandon Helmer from Linde. If there are lesser doll’s houses today it is due to the lack of Nora’s, not because of the absence of Helmers. While reading the text, I realized that Nora’s predicament is analogous with that of Sophocles’ Antigone. Both these women are victims of circumstance. They had privileged kinships, haggling with their personal happiness and security. They do contemplate suicide wherein Antigone takes her own life, whereas Nora had died several deaths before Helmer could read krogstad‘s incriminating letter. They are placed in a conflicting situation where it is mandatory for them to succumb to the patriarchal societal roles and live as per the dictates of their moral conscience.