A Historical Analysis of Torvald from Ibsen’s a Doll House

Topics: Social class, A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen Pages: 4 (1462 words) Published: April 6, 2009
The play, A Doll House, by Henrik Ibsen is the story of a trouble marriage in Victorian society. Torvald treats his wife, Nora, like a trophy until she finally realizes that she is unhappy and leaves him. In his efforts to impress the bourgeoisie, he is constantly worried about the appearance of his wife and himself. In his attempts to control Nora’s appearance to society, he takes a bizarrely dictatorial role in her life. Torvald is extremely strict with Nora about her spending because of the strict financial policies of the banks at the time. While his behavior throughout the play is despicable, Torvald’s actions are very similar to the factual behavior of most men during the time that Ibsen wrote the play

The 19th-century was marked by the rise of the bourgeois and their desire to become one of the aristocracy, the privileged upper class. This mainly comprised of the Noveau Riche, who attempted to imitate the House of Lords. Similarly, Torvald emphasizes the importance of the respect he has gained through his new career. Torvald often mentions that integrity is a man's greatest virtue. In particular, when calming Nora, Torvald states, “Plenty of men have redeemed themselves by openly confessing their crimes and taking their punishments.” (Ibsen 1685) In the Victorian Era, class was very important because of the respect and power acquired through their position. Ibsen portrays Torvald to be the ideal family man. He provides, cares, and loves his family. To illustrate, Nora remarks, “No, not just for necessities, but stacks and stacks of money!” (Ibsen 1671) Unmistakably referring to Torvald's new position at the bank and its ability to satisfy her every whim. The Victorian era incorporated a very strong sense of family into every day life. When Nora decides to leave, Torvald's world is thrown into chaos, he cannot understand how someone could discard their family and live a life of shame and disgrace. Nora's failure as a mother would only damage...
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