Comparison and Contrast Essay on Ibsen's "A Doll's House" Title: Two Old School Friends

Essay by lmarcolongoCollege, UndergraduateB, April 2004

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Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" shows how two women who went to school together many years previous have led totally different lives. Nora is married, has three children and everything she wants or needs. Her husband Torvald treats her like a doll, indulging her every whim and calling her pet names, such as "singing lark", "little squirrel" and "little spendthrift". He pats her on the head much as one would a small child. Nora is sensible and completely unaware of her own worth until the last act of the play. In contrast, Mrs. Linde is a widow who married her husband for money and has no children. Since her husbands death she has had to work to take care of her sickly mother and two small brothers. Her mother has since died and her brothers are grown up and have made good lives for themselves. Mrs. Linde now has only herself to take care of.

The play also shows how Mrs. Linde has matured and Nora has not. Nora initially appears flighty and excitable, her main concern seems to be charming her husband and being the perfect wife. It is Christmas eve and she is excited about showing Torvald what she has bought for gifts and decorating the Christmas tree. Mrs. Linde, on the other hand, has arrived in town looking for a job (and Mr. Krogstad)and makes no mention of Christmas. She and Nora reminisce about their days as school girls and she is very interested when she hears the news that Torvald is going to be manager of a bank, hoping that he will give her a position there.

Nora is secretive and hides her thoughts and actions from her husband even when there is no real benefit in doing so. Deception appears to be almost...