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Money in "A Doll's House"

Henry & Sydney's presentation of money and its symbolism throughout the play "A Doll's House"

sydney roberts

on 17 May 2011

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Transcript of Money in "A Doll's House"

Money At the beginning of the play, money is considered a valuable commodity. It is something to be saved and used wisely. The family is in a comfortable situation, but they still have to save their money and be careful. Helmer states on page two: “No debt no borrowing. There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt. We two have kept bravely on the straight road so far, and we will go on the same way for the short time longer that there need be any struggle.” (page 2) Torvald calls Nora a spendthrift, stating that she uses a lot of money and buys many things. Helmer: “What are little people called? They’re always wasting money?” (page 3) Nora: “Spendthrifts--I know. Let us do as I suggest, Torvald, and then I shall have time to think what I am most in want of.” (pg 3) Towards the middle, it is revealed that Nora owes money to Krogstad because he had lent her the money sometime before. Towards the end, Torvald is upset that Nora had lied to him and that she had forged her father’s signature in order to obtain the money. He forgives her when he receives another letter revealing that the debt that Nora owes has been forgiven. Throughout the story, money fuels their emotions, their actions, and how they behave around one another. One theme of money within this story is that money tears people apart. This can be seen in the fact that had Helmer not found out about Nora’s secret of how she received the money, he would never have had any reason to be mad at her, and Nora may not have realized exactly how unfair her relationship is. Gender Roles With Money: The men are the ones with money, as seen in the fact that Nora must take money from her husband as well as the fact that she borrows money from Krogstad. Men have control of the money throughout this story, which was also a prevalent characteristic of families all over the world during this time period. Nora: “Many a time I was desperately tired, but all the same it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being a man.” (page 13) This power that men have over women can be seen when the article states that Nils Krogstad uses Nora as a pawn in her own game. The author compares Krogstad’s power over Nora as a game in which Krogstad is the gamester and Nora is a mere pawn. This article is “Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE” by David Drake. Torvald criticizes Nora's role as a woman by referring to the fact that she is foremost a wife and a mother. He states that she cannot understand her place in her own home (Langas, 150).
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