Representation of a person or other creatures is what
is defined as characterization. Characterization may be established through
qualities, appearance, dialogue and a person’s actions. In the play “A Doll’s
House,” Torvald Helmer is a character who is exciting and makes the game more
enjoyable to the audience. Torvald is Nora’s husband. Torvald thinks that due
to his new position at the bank he now gains authority as a husband to Nora. He
handles his wife Nora as a child in a way that is kind and unkind as well. He
views Nora as inferior and does not treat him as an equal either. He sees her
as a doll (plaything) that he can get teas wherever he feels like it. Despite
all this Torvald highly admires Nora. He is more concerned about his status and
place in the society hence allowing his feelings to be swayed hardly as he is
afraid of scorn by the members of the community.
Torvald is a shallow man compared to the character of
Nora; his role is just like a thin foil paper. He appears as a plausible kind
of a man, to be the head of the family in the contemporary society. He is
depicted as a proud product of a middle-class husband. He acts as a well-
constructed specimen in the community. He feels that he is the source of
shelter for Nora all her life and to her, he means everything in the world. To
Nora, Torvald represents the world of both business and men. Whatever Tolvald
stands for in the society does not concern her because it is not part of her
housebound life. According to Henrik
Ibsen Torvald is a representative of all men refusing social ills.
Torvald is a victim of his narrow-mindedness in the
society. He continually seeks sympathy instead of blame. Ibsen drives home the
qualities of this character by referring to him as personal decadence. When a
man has mistaken in his values, then the fault is upon his social life. Torvald
sees Nora as a sex object that is decorated with ornaments. He adores his woman
in Capri fisher dresses to maintain his fantasies.
Helmer is the least admirable character in the play “A
Doll’s House” by Ibsen. He is depicted as a sexist fool. More depth of his injustice is evident when
he hides from Nora’s father. This was because there was a slow promotion in the
bureau. The reason as to this is because the intimate co-workers were already
aware of his doings. Luckily the management failed to prosecute him.
“….I am very well be suspected of having been involved
in your crooked dealing. They may think that I was behind it—that I put you up
Torvald motivates Nora to dance for him to arouse his
sexual desires. Ibsen depicts this as an incest marriage since her husband
takes advantage of her childish and immature actions. Nora did not change her
father’s tutelage without emotional change. It is through this act of
perversion Ibsen draws a character reprehensible to the lay audience. Torvald’s
moral decay made his family live a life full of lies about his dirty secrets.
Despite his desire for his wife, he never knew how to love her as a person, but
he saw her as a child. He knew how to trick to win her affection so that she
would never suspect about his dark past.
Torvald is unwilling to face his dishonest nature. In an
effort to cover up all his past doings he puts all the blame to his wife and
her family as well. Long before everything his desire for Nora over-powered his
quest for economic and social status. His desire for her has today changed.
Nothing can change his attitude even when she tries using her “little tricks”.
Helmer uses a lot of money to purchase his clothing and this forces Nora to
secretly work to be able to buy clothing for her children. After spending many
years straggling as a mere lawyer now this sacrifice has paid him as he is the
now the manager of the savings bank. A distinguishable rank that would not
accommodate a person with a past of dishonesty.
This character has never been able to engage in a
serious conversation involving his wife. Is it because he did not want the
subject of her father? Or is it that he was avoiding her childishness? The only
way he could deal with his wife Nora is as a Doll because he was afraid to
handle her as a person because he did not want his moral failures to come to
light. At the end of the first act, he said: “An atmosphere of lies like that
infects and poisons the whole life of a home.” He cast a blind eye from the
truth as he talks about the Krogstad’s crime he is focused on renewing himself.
Does Torvald know men need to make sacrifices for their families again and
again just like women? If he can’t train Nora on becoming a good wife, can he
become such as a man? Nils Krogstad can accept his crooked past as he tried to
make a fortune through forgery but Helmer is hesitant to come to terms with his
Helmer is not fond of his three children, and he is
not interested spending time with them. We once heard him say about his kids,
“unbearable to anyone except mothers.” According to his traditional believes on
marriage he is very loving and affectionate towards Nora despite treating her
as an object, a pet, a doll and something of pleasure. At the end of the play,
his friendship with Dr. Rank is discovered to be nothing but a façade, Torvald
pretends to be hurt by the death of Dr. Rank, but deep inside he is relieved
when his friend dies. When he discovers the debt that Nora had, he digs deeper
to know about it and ensures that his reputation is intact.
Torvald is only concerned about her status and only
desires to be treated as a superior. He is obsessed with class and appearances.
When Nora threatens to leave him, he calls her mad and says she is behaving
like a stupid child. When he realizes that she is severe Torvald promises to
change as a way to stop her from leaving. Nora finally exits the play at the
end despite her husband’s unfair treatment. Did Torvald love her or it was just
in her thinking?