Posted at 10.16.2018
Keywords: character examination a dolls house
"I must stand on my own two feet easily am to determine the truth about myself and about life, " To what magnitude is Nora a tragic heroine? -1497 words (excluding title)
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen is a modern tragedy that is centred around the life span of the Norwegian household in the Victorian age, concentrating on the tests and tribulations that face Nora Helmer in this patriarchal society. A Doll's House explores not only the status of women, but the way they are victims of sociable causes to the magnitude that they are still left with the role of your "dollwife". During this article, I plan to study the type of Nora and also to what magnitude she qualifies as a tragic heroine.
As the curtain starts to the first function, we are launched to Nora as an "extravagant little person", a "sweet little spendthrift"; supplying the audience the impression that she'll be just one more undeveloped female personality as seen in past traditional tragedies. Ibsen uses patronizing language to portray Torvald's view of his wife, how to him she was simply a "special little skylark", the word "little" emphasizing Torvald's misogynistic ego, and how he uses typically 'caring' terms but makes them seem to be condescending and demeaning.
Aristotle's description of an tragic hero as layed out in his book Poetics, is where he discusses the aspects of one's figure which qualify someone to be a tragic hero, ideas which were accepted and extended for several hundreds of years, and often used as a 'mould' for tragic heroes. To be able to reach my realization and opt to what level Nora is a tragic heroine, I am going to compare Nora's character to some of the ideas Aristotle discussed in his publication.
According to Aristotle, 'the tragic hero is a guy who is a mixture of good characteristics and bad characteristics'. Regardless of the 'necessity' to be male, Nora matches this aspect of his definition flawlessly as she can be seen as both the epitome of good and evil within the play, depending on one's perspective. Ibsen establishes Nora's identity as not solely vapid (even as we perhaps thought predicated on our first impression of her) but a woman who gave up the "necess[ities] of life" and went to extreme measures to "save [her] husband's life", though it was considered "imprudent" in Victorian world, where a female was "transferred" from being, firstly a good daughter, second a good partner and lastly a good mother. Consequently, Nora's figure can be seen as having 'bad characteristics' (one of Aristotle's prerequisites to be a tragic hero) as she unquestionably "commit[ted] a fraud" as Krogstad says, "regulations cares nothing at all about motives", even if Nora "did it for love's sake". Ibsen stated that 'a girl can't be herself in society. It is an exclusively male contemporary society, with laws made by men' with no regard to feminine emotions.
Torvald "shakes his finger" at Nora and says that "a songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with". Ibsen's use of level direction obviously shows Torvald's condescending behavior towards his wife. It also demonstrates even after eight many years of matrimony, Torvald Helmer underestimates his wife's character or features to the amount that it's doubtful whether he is aware her at all. Ibsen shows that even although storyline unfolds in a male dominated culture, those same men could be easily deceived by their wives, as shown by Torvald and Nora's marriage. Even though Ibsen has adopted Aristotle's idea, he has left it open to interpretation as Nora's activities can be interpreted as 'good' or 'bad'.
Ibsen portrays Nora as being coquettish, using her beauty and charisma to her benefit as she "play(s) with [Torvald's] coat switches without nurturing her eyes to his", mere local, flirtatious behavior. However, it brings complexity to Nora's identity, as she actually is manipulating her husband into presenting her what she desires. Additionally, Ibsen could be portraying that ladies were now breaking from the restraints of the sociable norm, where "before all else, [they] are a better half and a mother". Since it is discovered to us that Nora "saved Torvald's life", we know that she actually is not simply a "dollwife", but a female of intellectual complexity. Ibsen provides subconscious depth to Nora's personality, depth that once was uncommon within feminine characters in dilemma, a leading example being Shakespeare's Ophelia.
The play comes after Aristotle's rule -'the tragic hero has a tragic flaw, or hamartia, this is the reason behind his downfall'-, establishing Nora as a tragic heroine. Nora Helmer's tragic flaw is without a doubt her naivet. As Aristotle mentioned, 'the tragedy is usually triggered by some error of judgment or some personality flaw' and it can be said that it's Nora's innocence that undoubtedly leads her to her tragic fall season. As I've previously discussed, Torvald consistently exhibits condescending and demeaning behaviour towards Nora, contacting her a "little featherhead" and an "obstinate little person", and Nora appears to perceive his abusive and controlling behaviour as a sign that "Torvald is so absurdly keen on [her]". Nora respect her partner as having no "moral failings", and "man enough to consider everything upon [him]self" to the level that "he would never for an instant hesitate to give his life for [her]". Torvald's 'morality' is what makes his actions so shocking when he won't save her and accuses her of experiencing "no religious beliefs, no morality, no sense of work", when in fact the real reason for her immorality was Torvald himself. Nora's understanding of her hamartia enables her to attain catharsis which is 'a secular minute of do it yourself realisation', allowing her to therefore rectify her 'problem' and complete her voyage to be always a tragic heroine. During Act II, Nora starts off to realize her flaw, she starts to understand that she is not Torvald's "dollwife" living in his "play room". This is made noticeable in the play as Nora disagrees with Torvald and says he has a "narrow-minded way of taking a look at things". Even though this 'realization' is nowhere as remarkable as it would have been around in classical tragedy, Nora's actions have the same influence on the audience as she voices her view, taking on the dominating role in their marriage.
Aristotle also says that 'the tragic hero is someone people can relate to'. Ibsen has made this possible by arranging his play within an average affluent Victorian home, and uses Nora to depict the oppression of women, and exactly how they are dehumanized to mere things of entertainment, especially in the middle-class population. George Bernard Shaw agrees that the play's home setting up makes 'the character types recognizable people' as their 'problems were familiar to the audience'. Ibsen illustrates the Helmer's busted marriage through Nora "removing [her] fancy dress", her changing into regular clothing symbolises the shedding of most illusions about their matrimony. He uses the metaphor of a cold, wintry nighttime to depict the frosty atmosphere of the Helmer home. Ibsen shows how Nora has "existed just to perform methods for [Torvald]" through the tarantella, a folk dance that was traditionally performed to purge oneself of poison, demonstrating the level of the control Torvald has over her.
Finally, Aristotle argues that 'the tragic hero always comes in the end, and that's the reason he is called a tragic hero. His tragic flaw always ends up in tragedy for himself and for those around him. ' The plays climaxes when Nora leaves her man and children, that can be thought to be her 'semester'. This is regarded as either an assertion of her humanity or as a neglect of her "most sacred duties", as she "forsake(s) [her] hubby and children". However, For me, Nora is not abandoning any obligations as even though she acquired "borne [Torvald] three children", it was their maid Anne-Marie that catered to all or any the children's needs, whereas "it was great fun when [Nora] played with [the children]", "the kids have been [her] doll's". Subsequently, it could be viewed as liberation for Nora as her expereince of living, she was "simply transferred from Papa's hands to [Torvald's]", allowing her to "make nothing of [her] life". It really is here when our "little skylark" finally flies away from her cage, attaining freedom. Aristotle agrees that 'the fall is not pure loss. There exists some increase in awareness, some gain in self-knowledge', as Nora slams the door shut on her marriage. It could be said that Ibsen uses his last stage course to symbolise the possible drop of patriarchy, 'the shutting of 19th century beliefs and the labor and birth of Modernism'.
Throughout the play, Nora assumes many different assignments, making her character difficult to 'compartmentalise', but as a critic says, 'the greatest dramatic characters hold the flexibility of incongruity'. In A Doll's House, Ibsen reveals us with a persona that initially appears to be a "featherhead", but employs the Aristotelian journey of a tragic hero, from hamartia to catharsis to her tragic show up. Aristotle says that 'the tragic hero is a personality of noble stature and has greatness', and although Nora is merely an ordinary Victorian housewife, it is undeniable that she does indeed in fact have 'greatness', making Nora today's tragic heroine.