Torvald's Dominance

Essay by flemrodCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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In "A Doll's House", Nora is Torvald Helmer's little "skylark" (368) who seems to be dominated by him in every single way: mentally, physically, and financially. Torvald treats Nora as if she were a child or some other creature that is incapable of thinking. She lives a sheltered life in which there is no need of worrying about problems like the ones that Ms. Linde has encountered. Torvald simply tells her what do and how to do it. One could even go as far as saying that Nora is constantly living a dream and hasn't awakened. Another way Torvald controls her is by being the only source of income for Nora and the rest of the family. He holds a successful position as manager of a bank where he makes reasonable pay. Torvald makes all financial decisions for the family. In the Explicator, Rosefeldt explains that society in those days was "a male society dominated by men and with laws written by men" (84).

Nora is clearly dominated by Torvald in every sense.

Torvald doesn't treat Nora as his wife, but as a child, possession, or some sort of creature for him to take care of. A child is dominated because they lack the maturity to act appropriately in every-day life. Children are told what to do and how to behave by parents and elders because they are inferior in age and less mature. A creature is dominated due to it not being as mentally developed as a mature human-being. In parts of the play, the fact of Nora being treated like this is confirmed by the names her husband calls her. He refers to her as "songbird" (388), "skylark" (368), and "little silly" (393). When Nora is pouting because Torvald prohibits her from spending an over-abundance of money...