The Microsoft EncartaEncyclopedia, (1996), defines neurosis as a slightly less impaired state thanthat of the psychotic, wherein the individual has lost touch with reality. Because of her being mistreated by men for so many years, by her father and inturn her husband, Nora has developed a strange sense of right and wrong, andwhich is which. The first scene in which Nora brings in the presents alreadyexemplifies her strange reasoning. Although we know that she should be savingevery penny, and she even says later on to Mrs Linde that she tries to make somemoney of her own by copying, and attempts to save by wearing the simplest,cheapest outfits, (p 643), here she contradicts herself by insisting toTorvald that .
. . we can squander a little now. Cant we? (p 638) Thisstrange, often moody temperament is a well known characteristic of a neurotic.
The way Torvald treats Nora in the very first scene also is tell-tale ofNoras mental problems. She lies to her husband about eating macaroons. Although wives were perhaps more submissive to their husbands desires 120years ago, I certainly doubt that most of them would have accepted being treatedlike a child with rules regarding whether they could snakc on a macaroon or not. Her desire to please is also characteristic of a neurotic, as they cannot oftenhandle rejection.
As one might suspect and as we learn throughout and at at theend of the play, Nora and Torvalds relationship really never went beyondsimple flirting, and they never really talked about anything. One who wouldcontinue in a relationship in this manner obviously has a disconnection withreality. During her conversation with Mrs. Linde, (pgs 640-644), Nora doesntseem to be aware that the forgery of her fathers signature was illegal. Although she has been sheltered her whole life, I find it nearly impossible toaccept that she has never heard that it is wrong to fake someone elsessignature. This again is a reflection of her difficulty realizing what is rightand wrong ans the difference between the two.
Noras mental state affectsevery character in the play, as she interacts with everyone. There is more toher than just her neurosis, but that is a pivotal part of her character. Wereshe not to be portrayed as neurotic, this would be a very different, andpotentially more boring play. BibliographyIbsen, Henrik. A Doll House. The Bedford Introduction to Drama, 3rd ed.
Ed. Lee A. Jacobus, University of Conneticut. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997.Theater