The game a doll house labeled the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen as the author of the scandal in 1879, when the play was performed. In the women’s rights debate raging around the world, Ibsen faced a storm of protest, especially from the patriarchal church, against a woman leaving her husband at the end of the play. With no prior knowledge of Jung’s theories of anima and animus, Ibsen created a protagonist who begins as an anima woman who tries to represent her husband Torvald’s ideal woman but ultimately rejects this personality and leaves him in search of self-realization. .
In Act I, Nora Helmer secretly eats macaroni and must lie about it for fear of retaliation from her husband Torvald for eating sweets. Hearing her return from shopping, he calls out, “Is it my little lark chirping out there?… Is it my little squirrel scurrying?… Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?” In three short pages of the script, the reader quickly deduces the nature of the relationship between Nora and Torvald. There’s a sweet outer layer to Nora’s darkest censorship that lies only slightly below the surface of her words. It’s a father-son arrangement based on Torvald’s need for control over his wife and her self-image, both of which are illusory, creating the tension of uncertainty over Nora’s choices.
Nora as the loyal Ariadne
An old school friend, Mrs. Christine Linde, comes to visit Nora. Their conversation allows them to fill in the ten-year news gap, including Nora’s need to take up sewing to make ends meet and Torvald’s exhaustion and illness requiring a recovery period in Italy, a tremendous expense that Nora explains that it came from her dad. . Torvald has recovered and returned to Norway where he has just received a promotion at the bank and the promise of a secure future for his family. This situation is also an illusion, because although Torvald has recovered, his debt is not to his father, who is now dead, but to his wife, who secretly borrowed the large sum from a disreputable moneylender to pay for her living expenses. recovery.
the tangled web
In Act II, the lives of the characters have become intertwined. Nora offers to help the widowed Mrs. Linde by telling her husband about her friend’s accounting skills, which convinces Torvald to give her a newly available banking position with the firing of Nils Krogstad, the pawnbroker. Nora Helmer’s secret. The deception has indeed led to a tangled web, but it will be the necessary test of the soul for Nora and Torvald. When Krogstad is fired, he will make the news of the scandalous loan public, an announcement that Torvald’s ego will not survive. In fact, Krogstad sends Torvald the note requesting the loan balance, and the letter remains intact in the box. While Nora and Torvald are upstairs at a Christmas celebration, Christine and Krogstad meet and reveal their old love story. Christine’s good fortune leads her to offer Krogstad the security of the marriage, and he accepts her offer, at the same time rescinding the loan to Nora.
In Act III, Torvald and Nora are alone. He calls her his “fascinating and lovely little darling… all the beauty that is mine, all mine… more captivating than ever… I want to be with you, my darling wife. I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I could risk my blood and everything for you”. Having read the letter revealing Nora’s loan dilemma, her words quickly change to “miserable, hypocritical, lying, criminal creature, the unspeakable ugliness of it, no religion, no morality, no sense of duty… Now you have destroyed my happiness…ruined my future…I must sink to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!” Torvaldo’s soul resorts to all the images he knows as a woman: Aphrodite the beautiful, Ariadne the loyal, Persephone the complacent, the Galatea of Pygmalion, the woman he created. She is every woman in her unconscious that will allow him to shape and control her.
A clear projection of Anima
After his accusatory tirade, he calmly tells Nora, “It must seem like everything between us was the way it used to be… You’ll still stay in my house… but I won’t let you raise the children; I don’t dare trust them. .. From this moment happiness is not the question, the only thing that concerns us is saving the remains, the fragments, the appearance-” Suddenly the doorbell rings; a letter has arrived for Nora, which Torvald insists on reading first. It is news from Krogstad that he has returned his bond, saving Nora and Torvald from shame. Before long, Torvald forgives her wife for her inability to “understand how to act on her behalf with her responsibility” and insists that she lean on him, who will advise and guide her in her distress. feminine of her He has wide wings to shelter her “scared little songbird” from her and will protect her “like a hunted dove.” As Nora dresses to leave him, though he doesn’t know it, he tells her that she has given him a new life, Galatea, and that she has become the archetypal wife and daughter to him. “This is how you will be to me after this, my frightened and helpless little darling.”
discard the soul
Nora, with each passing moment, silently looks inward, examining the undiscovered new woman within her and dismissing the anima projection she had endured for eight years into their marriage. With her cool, steady face, she sits Torvald down as he tells her for the first time that they have never had a serious conversation as husband and wife. She’s tired of being the doll-girl to her daddy and now her husband, who must have the same opinions and pull tricks for the men in her life. Her marriage and home have been nothing more than a doll‘s house, and having been trained to be manipulated according to Torvald’s wishes, she is also unfit to be a mother. She must fend for herself and try to educate herself, because self-understanding is as sacred a duty as her wife’s and mother’s. Torvald defies Nora’s expectation that he could possibly sacrifice her honor for her, even as he fantasizes about spilling her blood for her, telling her that no man would do that. Her insightful response is, “It’s something hundreds of thousands of women have done.” The door closes behind her and she leaves. The play has ended with Torvaldo confused and dazed. Nora has killed Torvald’s token lover, the anima projection that enslaved her, and now she is free to discover the person she is and can become.
the cycle of the soul
Perpetual in its motion, the projection of the anima, the images that a man unconsciously collects of the ideal woman, is reinforced by the woman who agrees to mirror those behaviors and mold herself accordingly to fit the projection. In each story, the female protagonist strives to conform to the ideal of her husband at the time, and little by little she begins to think like him. Her way becomes her way; her preferences become hers. In two other works of anima women, Katherine Anne Porter’s short story “Maria Concepcion” and Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, marriages remain intact only because the wives consent to give up on themselves. In Ibsen’s work the dollhouseNora will have to sacrifice her old life to be reborn as a true woman.
Please see the following works:
Jung, CG The Basic Writings of CG Jung. Trans. Helmet FR.FC. ed. Violet S. de Laszlo. Bollingen series. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1990.
Ibsen, Henrik. a doll house. Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Company,