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Nora’s Inner Transformation in a Doll’s House

Conforming to the way society defines a woman has made many people live in a shackle, thus, forgetting their true inner identity like Nora. For many decades, domestically abused women have been portrayed to be having revengeful needs which linked to abuse. This assumption is wrong, and thus the pursuit of breaking the violence cycle remains a crucial issue. As women change their lives, it is essential to value their feelings and thoughts. In A Doll’s House, a reflection of our daily life is seen. Through the depiction of Nora, who is the main character, a series of questions on women’s submission to men, their undervalued power, and domestic labor cannot be ignored (Al-Harthi, 2017). However, at the end of Ibsen’s piece, we witness female power awakening as Nora leaves the house. Throughout the essay, it is evident how Nora’s inner self changes compared to the beginning of the play.

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The play begins with the representation of a young and timid Nora Helmet, who is contented with her life. She enjoys Torvald Helmer’s (her husband) presence and affection, but then he sees her as naïve and injudicious. At times, Torvald patronizes her, but she does not care about it. As the name suggests, Nora is portrayed as a “doll.” Torvald addresses her even as a little girl or a pet, “What? Is that my squirrel in the sulks?” (Ibsen, 2008). Some indicators of a change can be observed in her as the play progresses; she even has thought of talking to her husband so that she can find a job. To save his life, Nora takes a loan from Mr. Krogstad. A change is seen in her personality from being naïve to being a risk-taker and being aggressive to save Torvald’s life (Al-Harthi, 2017). She comprehends she needs to pay the debt, and at the same time, she apprehends the chauvinism in her companion.

Her personality becomes more assertive as she takes the courage to save her husband from paying debt. It is inconceivable to imagine a woman in the 1700s, having no stable income but choosing to pay the loan by herself. The act of choosing to pay the loan portrays the will and determination in her (Al-Harthi, 2017). However, all did not end well, her chauvinist husband learns of the debt and what Nora has done. He is full of rage, and it is at this point Nora realizes her marriage with Torvald was not working smoothly. She is upset with her husband’s behavior. The manipulative nature of her husband could be hindering her from communicating and expressing herself. She has to choose whether to conform to society or be herself. A confident woman over the naïve wife at this moment is presented. She has to consciously follow her heart. She has to walk through a thin line and rediscover her well-being and status of mind (Al-Harthi, 2017). She finally decides to leave the house, and she is now an example of a strong-willed and independent woman who is clear of what she wants.

In conclusion, Nora’s inner self or identity is awakened. She has decided not to conform to the manner a society defines women. She strives hard not to forget her true inner identity. Her transformation is witnessed as the play progresses in terms of her change in strength and personality, it was remarkable. The childish woman at the beginning of the play is not the same person who slams the door as the play ends. The doll-like Nora portrayed at the beginning cannot be compared to a fully self-aware woman who takes a bold step to walk out of her marriage.


Al-Harthi, R. S. (2017). Nora’s Transformative Journey: From A Doll’s House and The Little Mermaid to The Way Home (Doctoral dissertation, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina). Web.

Ibsen, H. (2008). A Doll’s House. 1879. Boston: IndyPublish. Web.

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