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Escape From A Dollhouse Essay, Research Paper

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.

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