Different Perspectives of Lying in 'A Doll's House'

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1967 |

Pages: 4|

10 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 1967|Pages: 4|10 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

The play A Doll's House was written and published by Henrik Ibsen in 1879. The background was set in 19th century Norway. The interactive oral mainly focused on expanding the background of the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. I learned a lot about women’s role back to the 19 century in Europe.

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First of all, found that I lacked the knowledge of women in Norwegian society during this while reading the play and thereby took the liberty of selecting this topic area to research. A Doll’s House is such a historic and a significant play that inspires and explores the role and position of a woman in a family of a middle class in the late 19 century. The play progresses an increasing number of facets of ‘ the truth’ are disclosed by hints and deliberate revelations. This play was thought and considered as aggressive and against feudalism society. It didn’t get good feedback back to that time but this play has been repeatedly both acclaimed and vilified as advocating women’s liberation, a matter which had been under public discussion in Norway, as elsewhere, during the nineteenth century. The sensational impact of this book is way over than what the author expected. The influence of this book is way over Europe but across the whole globe.

I learnt that women in Norway’s patriarchal society (the society in the 19 century and the role of women when the time period that lasted from the start of the 19 century to the middle of the 19 century) lived their lives according to the societal expectations at the time. They were expected to follow their husband or father’s needs but solely dependent on these males’ figures which Alice conveyed. Both married and unmarried women had gender-specific roles and responsibilities whereby they barely have rights to do until well into the 20th century. This led to feminism trend in Norway. The feminism went to the peakedness at the start of the 20 century until now. At the last play, Nora leaves the house because she realises to find the value of herself is more important than the family and religions which are the thing she has been forced to do and take care of. She doesn't even know much about god. She left the house for her own personality and value. Ibsen really uses this to challenge and inspire the women in that kind of situation to be brave enough to be themselves. That is really memorable and historical. How does Ibsen use the character of Nora to explore the theme of lying?

The lies in the “ A Doll’s House” can be regarded as the most important and considerable aspect of the play. In this play,from the perspective of characters,the act of lying is considered to be norms but lies weighed much worse and more serious especially lie to your family member back to that time. Dishonest and unfaithful are the masks of people to live under their characters, it has been given to them like their jobs and what they supposed to be like,includes the way they talk and behave. Lies are tools to keep their social status in middle class. The social class is also one aspect of the reasons why they were controlled by. The social status controlled the way the character behaved and grew up.

The character Nora is a typical character that ‘Imprisoned’ (mentally) by her role which is a wife of vice-president of a bank,Her role in the play provides a unique perspective.The lies benefited what she can get from her husband. The lies satisfy her husband and then she can get more money from him. From these we were able to further interpret the lying which is a major aspect in the development of my contextual understanding of the novel.

Nora's lie in Henrik Ibsen's entire play, “A Doll’s House”, from her life: protection and dedication, but she is not valued, her father and husband were barely affected. In that society, Many women were treated like nora with insignificant respect. Nora views lying as a way to find her status in the family and also she feels reasonable and sensible about lying because she thought the lies she tells are other ways of sacrifices for the family,therefore,she lies more and more. Lies are becoming a part of her life, she gains comfort and status from Torvald in this way. Her girlish extravagance is established in her desire to spend Helmer’s higher salary.

While a lying character often indicates a flaw in personality, care should be taken in plot analysis to consider the reasons for any character's dishonesty. In A Doll's House, Nora's lies stem from the disrespect treatment she receives from her husband. The most significant lie she tells is actually constructed in an effort to save her husband's life because women in her society are not considered to be capable of managing finances, Nora has to forge her father's signature in order to obtain a loan so that she can afford a trip to Italy to save Torvald's life. Forgery is illegal, but Nora is devoted to her husband and risks the possibility of consequences associated with this lie in order to obtain the best possible treatment for him, as he won't spend the money himself.

Nora also lied at the Christmas about locked herself in her room and spent In act 1, page 27 “... three whole weeks ...shut...away every evening to make flowers for the Christmas all came to nothing in the end… Nora: How could I help the cat getting in and tearing everything to bits” She lied again,the truth is that Nora spent three weeks selling and repaying debt. The language used here is really obscure. It brings us the expression of that Torval knows what happened but never says.It is necessary for Nora to keep her debt a secret from her husband because he became very mad with her when she asked him to sign a loan. Therefore, she must continue to lie to her husband about paying off the debt. The fact that Nora feels a need to lie about the debt that saved her husband’s life shows how insignificant her husband respects her ideas. Nora’s lies prove how trapped she is by the opinions of the men she is surrounded by.

From another character Torvald’s perspective, lying is completely different because of his social status and position. In another aspect because of the male chauvinism, even the way he’s been educated which is no lies in his family. In act one ,page 53,He said the “atmosphere of lies contaminates and poisons every corner of the home… Author uses exaggeration here to express how serious it is to lie at home and how badly it could affect the children. It’s usually the mother- thought of course the father can have the same influence.” Torvald thinks all the liars must wear a mask even in the presence of those who are dearest to him, even his own wife and children.

The way Torvald viewed lying is actually understandable. Lying is obviously not acceptable especially as being the parents of the children because the behaviour of the parents directly and indirectly affect the behaviour of the kids negatively and also the process of growth of a kid and that conforms to what Torvald meant by poisoning the house and every breath that the children draw in such a house contains the germs of evil. That is an exaggeration according to the reality but what he wants to express is obvious which is lying is such a dreadful behaviour. In other aspects, Nora is the woman and the mom who lies in the family. She lied about the money then lying becomes a part of her life. Once she lied the first time then she starts to lie more and more just like desire.

Lying becomes a way of communication to satisfy her man.Now, we have enough thoughts and evidence of Torvald in order to link back to why Nora lies. After the brief conversation she had with Torval, Nora knew how Torvald views lying and then became so nervous and stressed, She lost her mind because what she did and afraid that she will corrupt the children and poison the home . She tried to tell herself it must be impossible and nonsense. She comforts herself with the reasons that she lied for the family. She is the one who stands up and saves her man in the hardest time even though she lied but he will still know that is not for her but for the family ,right? She thought that is called “ White Lies” which is a lie but the purpose is kind. Torvald never experience these and he won’t understand the emotion towards “lying” is the ‘love’ from Nora. This is absolutely right but the problem is Torvald doesn't understand why the woman in the family would like to take the ‘liar’ character. The reason Nora lies is for two clear reasons, one is because by lying she can use it to raise the status of this family and also for her own benefit, including as more money. She probably got used to lying when she was a daughter. It is clear that lying has become a habit for her in spite of her maturing from a young daughter to a wife and mother. From our perspective, she clearly knew she was just a doll for the ‘men’ to play around but she was never courageous enough to face her role in the family so she decides to lie about it to herself. She tries to lie to get a little comfort from herself and that is the most pathetic thing about her. A pathetic person certainly have something to be despised. That is complicated and pitiful but it still couldn’t remedy the lies she told.I can’t imagine a wife,a person maintains life in a family by lies. If you love someone, it's best to tell him the truth, not to lie. The truth may hurt him but the lies hurt deeper. That’s why Nora never ‘loved’ Torvald. She knows one day the truth will come out in the wash but she keeps lying. By continuing to lie she shows irresponsibility by behaving this way towards her own family.

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The author definitely endowed the characters different thought of lying. Lying takes a big part of this play. We can dig into a character deeper by they lie or not even how frequent they lie and also what do they lie about. Honest and fidelity can enhance his soul and innermost. Disloyal can only be harmful to the ones cared about you and produce more fear towards herself. In the author’s perspective, a lying woman character can also make the story more interesting and encourage. The women become more powerful in the family. He initiate women should have the right to love themselves and also chase the one who truly loves her even by lying but let the readers know that lying can destroy a family that seem to be peace and fortunate. They viewed lying differently, it can’t be defined as right or wrong. Lying is always a type of moral degradation whether is for good purpose or not but in this case, lying could carry more meaning than moral degradation. Lying could also be a way to maintain human rights and strive for treating as a human in the family rather than little songbird. Lying is the only possible way that Nora could get a little comfort and feel pleasant a bit as being Torvald’s wife not his doll. Lying can also be considered as an act of revolt Trovald’s control of her even though it’s so negligible and menial.


  • “ A Doll’s House': Act 1 page 27, Acr 1 Page 53
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Different Perspectives Of Lying In ‘A Doll’s House’. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
“Different Perspectives Of Lying In ‘A Doll’s House’.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
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