Several plays use marriage in their casts to illustrate the emotional struggle that two people, who are in love encounter in the course of their marriage. There are three elements of marriage i.e. love in action, communication and perseverance. The play, A Doll House, clearly demonstrates these three qualities. There exists a couple in the characters in this play who are experiencing marital struggle, Torvalds and Nora. The actions and decisions that they encounter in the course of the play determines their marital fate which ends up in pieces and unworkable, with an ultimate result of separation.
A relationship begins when two people meet and feel string love for each other. At the point of meeting, the relationship begins with friendship with subsequent development of a romantic affair. The relationship between Nora and Torvald begins based on love, but the required balance needed for the relationship to grow is not achievable. In reality, Torvald did not fall in love with Nora as he saw her as a child to his mind. He stated, â€œAnd I would not want you to be any different from what you are-just my sweet little song bird. Now I come to think of it, you look rather-rather-how shall I put it? Rather as if you have been up to mischief todayâ€ (Ibsen 1283). Torvald also called Nora names such as squirrel, spendthrift, or skylark. The peak level in which Torvald expressed lack of love for his wife was in the way that he managed his home. He saw himself, as the sole owner of the house believed was a perfect dollhouse. The initial control of the dollhouse was by Noraâ€™s father until the time that Nora got married to Torvald. Noraâ€™s father then handed over the titles and deeds of the dollhouse to Torvald. Nora went through extensive manipulation by her husband Torvald, followed by the children through her in line with the wants of Torvald in order not to lose control over the dollhouse. This situation of lack of love imperious attitude and love were the main factors that led to the ruin of their marriage. In their marriage, the expression of love was only one sided with Nora being the only one showing love for her husband. Nora formulated a plan without Torvald knowledge to obtain an enormous amount of money, forged the signature of her father, and paid it back with the hope of her husband never getting to know of her actions. Nora never wanted to be manipulated in being a doll therefore, decided to switch personalities between the Nora who was a strong and intelligent, and Torvaldâ€™s description of her being a little skylark (Karas and Riches 69).
The aspect of love balance between a husband and wife that is a necessity in a marriage setup is not achieved in this play. This lack of balance and its resultant consequences ruined the relationship between Nora and Torvald, though that was among other reasons that led to the breakdown of their relationship. This calls for the need of proper and effective communication in any relationship. If Nora had opted to update her husband of her arrangement to borrow money from somewhere else, it would have resulted to conflicts, which have not occurred, from the beginning. However, that option would have been impossible or unrealistic because Torvald is portrayed as a stubborn man when it comes to money. Most probably, he would not have accepted the assistance from an outside source, bearing in mind that he was a powerful master of the dollhouse (Shaffer 87).
There was also lack of proper communication between Nora and Torvald. Nora states, â€œWe have been together for eight years now. Don’t you realize that this is the first time that we two-you and I, man and wife-have had a serious talk together?â€ (Ibsen 324). It is evident that when Nora disclosed all of her secret information, something negative was bound to happen. A second complication with the communication breakdown between Nora and Torvald was that neither of them unconditionally trusted the other. A couple cannot thrive and live together with lack of trust of one other. The marriage is normally on the path of failure if one partner feels that they need to regularly follow all the activities of the other partner. Torvald has no traces of trust for his wife. He constantly ridicules Nora because of the flirtatious means of money spending. Torvald states, â€œIt would be (sensible) if you really kept the money I give you, and actually bought something for yourself with it. But if it goes in with the housekeeping, and gets spent on all sorts of useless things, then I only have to pay out againâ€ (Ibsen 1309). In a relationship where the husband continuously checks up on his spouse, then the marriage is vulnerable for doom from the beginning. The solution can be for the wife to establish trust in her relationship with her husband, and a similar case should be able to apply the same. No marriage can work in the setup of Nora and Torvald that does not have any ounces of trust. However, the application of the mentioned elements cannot be sufficient to hold a marriage together (Ibsen 92).
It is evident that the relationship between Nora and Torvald does not progress effectively, and the couple does not learn from the difficult experiences they encounter, which is not the case as portrayed in the play. The couple did not get challenges in trying to persevere with their marriage because Torvalds solely handled the entire problem solving in behalf of both of them, and handled all of Noraâ€™s problems by himself. This signified that Nora did not have an opinion or say in the marriage. However, Torvald did not take charge of the relationship in this manner out of selfishness, but rather dominated the relationship because of his male ego by not allowing Nora to act or think for herself. The lack of trust and love from Torvald made Nora believe that continue to preserve in their relationship would only cause many problems. The idea of perseverance is only effective if other elements required for a marriage to work are implemented, because failure of implementing this will ultimately result in other problems (Shaffer 93).
The marriage between Torvald and Nora did not work because they did not meet all the qualifications required for a marriage to work or be successful. Nora had told Torvald before she left, â€œI’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child. And the children have been my dolls in their turn…That is what our marriage has beenâ€ (Ibsen 1325). For a successful marriage with a couple having a happy and brilliant life together, the existence of any doll house must be destroyed, and the fluid contained in the lighter must be one bearing the identities of love, communication, trust and perseverance (Karas and Riches 93). Once the smoke from the burnt out dollhouse clears, a brilliant and strong bond of marriage can be experienced and enjoyed to the utmost extent, until the time â€˜death do us part.â€™
This play, A Doll House, extensively demonstrates the nature of emotional struggle that occurs between two people in a relationship. Throughout the marriage between Nora and Torvald, the three main requirements and qualities that are necessary for a successful marriage are not in implementation. These qualities include love in action, communication and perseverance.