Instructor: Dr. Pappas
"A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen
In "A Doll's House" by Ibsen, in Act II Dr. Rank and Nora have the chance to talk in private. Through Dr. Rank's and Nora's conversation, the themes of parental obligation and religion, that are evident throughout the play, are being discussed.
The theme of the parent's obligation towards their children, as well as the need for the children, when older, to take care of the parents, is a theme that is present throughout the play. A perfect example of a child that took care the parent, sacrificing any personal happiness is Kristina, Nora's friend. Kristina had an ill mother to support and two young brothers, and since she was coming from a very poor family, she had to marry a man that she didn't love, so that she could take care of the people that she loved : Nora: "...
is it really true that you didn't love your husband?" Kristina: "My mother was still alive; she was bedridden and helpless. And then I had my two young brothers to look after." (1772, 1773). Kristina did for her ill mother and young brothers what exactly a mother would do for her sick child in the same self-denial, even though she was in love with a young, but nevertheless, poor man. The magnitude of Kristina's help is revealed at the end of the play, when after twelve years she meets again the man that she loved, and finally gets a second chance: Kristina: "Nils, give me somebody and someone to work for." "I need someone to mother, and your children need a mother" (1807)
But on the other hand, Ibsen suggests that when parents are not right towards their children, not only they do not deserve...