Dimitri Antonopoulos English 8 Dr. McDonald A Doll House Study Question Essay #2: Nora lies to Helmer in the opening scene about eating macaroons. Trace the theme of lying through the play. In Ibsen’s A Doll House, Nora and Torvald encounter common problems that many couples have experienced in past and present relationships. Of those problems is the act of deception, a major theme portrayed in the novel. Throughout the novel there is constant deception caused from pre-existing issues which are also major themes in the novel.
From the beginning, Nora lies to Torvald about the simplest of things, like about eating the macaroons. This chain of cause-and-effect could be traced back to themes such as lying to protect an image, marrying for money and the role of women during that period. During the period this play was written, in Italy of 1879. The role of women then differed greatly to the role of women today. Women were not treated as equals with men, either in relation to their husbands or society, as is clear from Torvald’s horror of his employees thinking he has been influenced in a decision about Krogstad’s job by his wife.
The husband was expected to have full control of their wives because they were considered superior to them. What defined a man’s place in society was the ability to make and control money and finically, physically and mentally control his family. These expectations are what caused a great deal of deception throughout the play. Nora had lied to Torvald about the macaroons because she wanted him to feel in control. If Nora told Torvald the truth, that she indeed had eating the macaroons, Torvald would of taken it as disrespectful and disobedient.
This incident reflects another incident, when Nora takes a loan out from the bank, forges the signature on the paperwork, and keeps it a secret from Torvald. Nora’s intentions were to use the loan to help Torvald to pay medical treatments, but kept it a secret so she wouldn’t dishonor Torvald, who would of felt belittled if he were to find out that his wife had to dig him out of his own hole and that he had to borrow money. Furthermore, the expectations of society, like a chain reaction, caused Torvald to be a possessive because he was scared to lose control and be judged by others.
Being possessive made Torvald more of a father figure to Nora then a husband. Torvald always acted like he knew what was best for her, and called Nora cute nicknames rather than by her first name. Nora felt more like Tovald’s daughter then his wife. Nora remained married to Torvald because he took care of her like her father did. ”Yes, it is true now Torvald. When I lived at home with Papa, he told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too; or if they were different I hid them.. e used to call me his doll child, and he played with the way I played with my dolls. Then I came into your house…”(Ibsen) Her love for him was based on mostly comfort more than intimacy, which made their love grow weaker and more deceitful. When Nora was angrily confronted about the loan and forgery, but forgiven immediately after Torvald’s reputation was no longer at risk , she realized how selfish Torvald was and how little she actually means in Torvald’s life(Cunningham).
Torvald’s possessiveness and obsession with his image caused Nora to feel that her husband cared more about his image then he did her. Torvald would rather have a pretend marriage, for the sake of appearances, than to divorce and be frowned upon by society. They’re marriage was fake; a lie. “ …then I went into Papa’s hands into yours. Your arranged everything to your own taste, and so I got the same taste as you-or I pretended to…I lived by doing tricks for you. (Ibsen) A Doll House shows us how all negatives things in a relationship, such as a lack of honesty and respect could act as a chain-reaction causing further problems. People around the world encounter these problems on a day-to-day basis. Lying, cheating, or sexist discrimination, are all problems faced in past society and today’s society. The difference though is that women and men have the same rights these days and to conquer these obstacles we must strive for equality, respect, and honesty in every relationship.