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The Importance And Role Of Money In A Doll’s House

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In the book doll’s house, written by Henrik Ibsen. A Norwegian dramatist who portrays the feminist society to the world. The society back in 19th century was focusing on serious social conflicts. Which focused more on the male domination and feminism.

From my point of view, Ibsen discusses the major concerns of naturalism and realism. And also highlights the importance given to the cultural conflicts. The way Ibsen portrays Nora in the play talks vastly of how women were treated back in those times, which again makes me think about the male-dominant society.

I feel that the title of the book also refers to how Nora is handled like a little baby girl for example how Nora is called, “squirelkin” by Torvald. Though Nora is a member of a household that possesses a higher income compared to the other households of that time, and this fact exhibits her with a female with higher power but the truth leads us to a path where its the society which is male dominant towards the end. The point that Nora couldn’t tell Torvald about her loan because being the male dominant character, torvald had a difficult time accepting that someone, particularly a women helped him save his life. Moreover, Nora hides from Torvald and paying off the loan secretly, as a women is not allowed to take loan without her husband’s order.

From my point of view, the way Ibsen has written about the gender- inequality in the 19th century, has changed drastically in the 21st century. The way women are encouraged to work and be on their own feet to save their living and being independent is highly acknowledged. Even though in some religions it is not by far appreciated but personally, by reading the story and relating it to my own way of up-bringing.

Topic: The importance and role of money in A doll’s house.

In the epigraph of A doll’s house, Nora greets Torvald at the entrance and it is revealed that she is a “spendthrift”[footnoteRef:1]. This particular word leaves a great impact on the reader. The first thought about their conversation highlights that, at some point in life, as years passed by, the Helmers’ have had to be more concerned about their financial status. But it is also shown how Torvald recently obtained a new bank position and that they would live a more lavish lifestyle henceforth. [1: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

The conversation between Nora and the porter forces the reader to pay attention to money, which is one of the conflicting themes in the play. Ibsen has put his limitations between, classes, moral standards as well as gender. Torvald’s confidence that Nora lacks knowledge about money is because of her gender. “Nora, my Nora, that is just like a woman”[footnoteRef:2], expresses his viewpoint on gender roles. Throughout the play Torvald’s dialogues portray Nora’s inability to deal properly with financial matters, “ little birds that like to fritter money”[footnoteRef:3]. Despite of this, Torvald fills Nora’s hands with money just to see Nora’s bright smile. The reader feels that, Torvald plays a role of Nora’s second father as he treats her like a child by calling her names like, “my squirrel”[footnoteRef:4], doling out money to her and always guiding her about the world as he thought she wasn’t an extrovert. [2: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.] [3: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.] [4: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

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NORA: ‘Tell me, is it really true that you did not love your husband? Why did you marry him?” MRS. LINDE: ‘My mother was alive then and was bedridden and helpless, and I had to provide for my two younger brothers; so I did not think I was justified in refusing his offer.” [footnoteRef:5], this highlights how being married is the only thing women could have done to support her family, and Mrs. Linde thought she had to provide and fulfil her younger brothers needs, leaves an impression of how the oldest has to always take care of their young ones especially for financial states. Nora notices that Mrs. Linde is poor, and still she carries on with the fact that soon Torvald and her will have “pots and pots”[footnoteRef:6] of money. Mrs. Linde and Nora had both somehow how sacrificed themselves in exchange of money. Nora becomes Torvald’s doll whereas, on the other hand, Mrs.Linde was in need of money to support her mother who was sick and her younger brothers who were dependent on her. From the readers eye, Ibsen showed his characters as very ordinary middle class people instead on portraying rich, powerful, or socially significant people. [5:] [6: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

Nora and Torvald have usual arguments on their financial status. Krogstad, after Mrs. Linde’s dearest husband’s death she becomes in desperate need of money. In fact, the bank here signifies the presence of money in all characters’ lives. It is also shown that in the play, money symbolises the power of each character and their status and dominance over one and other. In the first scene, the way Torvald dictates how much money Nora spends for Christmas shows the dominance over Nora whilst, Nora owes Krogstad debt which allows him to have power over her and Torvald. The way Ibsen has shown the importance of money and has been highlighted from the first scene of play till the end.

Money is considered to be the backbone of problems, a solution to every cause it is a very valuable commodity. It is something which is to be saved and used safely. Even though the family is in a good state but yet in need to save money and use it with wise care. Page 2 of the book, Helmer says that when there is no debt there is no borrowing trying to state that there is no happiness or relief in the house which has a debt to pay and no freedom felt. Torvald has a dominant role in the household and Nora being a low-ranking woman encourages his ego. Ibsen has portrayed some of the major issues that women faced in the olden days. Taking different kinds of culture, for instance, some women are still expected to be a housewife and are forbidden to work. The nicknames given to Nora by Torvald shows how Torvald was by society standards, the dominating one.

Nora hides her loan from Torvald because she knew Torvald could never accept the fact that his wife, moreover any women helped him save his life financially[footnoteRef:7]. This talks about how the society is man-headed and in general the men in the society hold a huge amount of ego. The reader also notices how the importance of money changes from Act 1 to Act 3, in act 1 the role and importance of money was highly discussed whereas the lowest in act 3. A few pupil say that money is the root of all evil but yet it is noticed that one cannot live without money. One thing everybody agrees is that having money makes our lives much easier and carefree. Due to Helmer’s background history he knows how tough it is without a good financial state and therefore works so hard and looks for as many jobs as he can do. Which is why Helmer fell sick leading Nora to pay for his sickness. Nora tries to persuade torvald to go south but torvald being the tight person about money disagrees to go as he wouldn’t borrow money for that purpose. Nora then lies, saying the money was given by her father whereas the truth being, she had raised it herself. Before torvald could find out that the money did not come from her father, he had been long gone. Therefore, Nora keeps the secret to herself as she wouldn’t want torvald’s “man-pride[footnoteRef:8]” to fade away. This play in origination seemed to be a very happy play and the couple, Torvald and Nora, very honest. But as the play proceed we see that the house of Torvald is full of secrets and deception, the smallest example of this would be when Nora lies about the macaroons. And the most serious example would be the loan Nora illicitly acquired to save Torvald’s life. In act 2, the reader realises that Torvald is the only character who from the start believes in the charade, this might be possible because he is the only character in the play who has not kept any secrets. Each of the other characters, Nora, Mrs. Linde, Krogstad, Dr. Rank, have all had kept secrets at some point of time, hidden a true love or overlapped one reason for another. [7: SparkNotes, SparkNotes,] [8: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

In act 2, Nora cries that Krogstad has left the letter about the loan in Torvald’s letterbox and therefore, Mrs. Linde realises that it was Krogstad who lent money to Nora. Mrs. Linde confesses about Krogstad’s and her relationship. In the beginning of act 3, Mrs. Linde realises that Torvald and Nora soon return from the party. Meanwhile, Mrs. Linde calms Krogstad. Mrs. linde feels, even though she asked Krogstad for taking back the letter, she finds it more important for the truth to reveal for the betterment of their household. In the following time, Torvald reader’s the letter and Nora confesses that everything krogstad has said is true as she continues to talk, Torvald stops her from talking and bemoans the ugliness of the forgery as he says this, with anger and disappoint he also calls her a hypocrite and a liar. Torvald feels that she has ruined his life and happiness by putting him to Krogstad’s mercy. When Nora decides to leave, Krogstad disagrees and says that they should show that nothing has happened and continue showing happiness in their household. Meanwhile, the door bell rings and Nora receives another letter from Krogstad, which includes Nora’s promissory note. Right after reading this letter, Torvald demands that now they can forget about whatever happened because now this “bad dream[footnoteRef:9]” is over. [9: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

When Torvald says, “From now on, forget happiness. Now it’s just about Saving the remains, the wreckage, the appearance.[footnoteRef:10]”, this quote from a readers point of view indicates how torvald was with Nora and a pride husband only for her looks. After reading Krogstad’s letter, the first thought on Torvald’s mind is about his reputation, status and appearance this manifests how Torvald was a very shallow person who was concerned only about himself. He also states, for him appearance in happiness is more essential than literally being happy himself. [10: Ibsen, Henrik, and Mary Rafferty. A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2002.]

In conclusion, the reader believes, A Doll’s house written by Henrik Ibsen portrays the societal values of the world today. Through his simple diction and language he has portrayed the importance and role of money in every act as the reader thinks, money plays a key role in every relationship. It is very clearly evident in the play how money is not equal to love. Nora married torvald because of her financial concerns but there was never true love between them and hence the marriage was a fail.

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