27 April 2012
In Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll House,” Torvald, is an ambitious and fairly wealthy man that desires to maintain his image in society. Very early in the story we find out that it is his work ethic and responsibility that have led to him becoming the new manager of the bank. Being manager of the bank not only allows him to better support his family, but also grants him a prestigious position with in society. As manager of the bank, Torvald is given a great deal of clout in society and throughout the play it becomes more and more clear that he will do anything to protect his reputation. For example, in act 1 of the play, statements such as, “That is like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what I think about that. No debt, no borrowing,” lead us to believe that Torvald is not willing to do anything that will hurt his image. Eventually his pompous persona and “narrow minded” view of life inevitably cause him to suffer a very embarrassing and unusual fate. At the end of the play, it is ultimately Torvald’s pride in his job, Nora, and his own image that eventually cause his wife to leave him.
During the time of the play, men were expected to be the primary breadwinners of the family, so it is no shock that Torvald took it upon himself to be his family’s primary source of income. Although he was only trying to fulfill his duties as a man during that time period, we learn in act 1 that Torvald’s work ethic caused him to become very ill; which then causes Nora to have to borrow a large sum of money to save his life. However, it is also this same work ethic that allows him to eventually become the manager of the bank, unlike his one time friend Krogstad, whose former work ethic has earned him a bad reputation in society. Therefore, when Krogstad starts to call Torvald by his Christian name and become too “friendly” with him around the bank, not only is Torvald upset at the lack of respect he is being...