A the traits that a person might deem

A
Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, is a symbolic
play full of hidden meanings relating to society as a whole. This play
addressed controversial topics in society that occurred during the Victorian
Era, which was during the 1900’s. It was written to emphasize the portrayal of
the inferior role of women during that time period. The reason for the style of
writing was so the audience could relate to the characters in the play. This
play also questioned societal norms in the time period it was written in and
explored the roles of being a wife, mother, and need for self-exploration
amongst the female gender. The play centered on Nora and her life with Torvald.
It began by portraying her as this wife that was a victim to societal norms and
was obedient in following her husband’s wish. However, as the story progressed,
it began to reveal all of Nora’s secrets and began to showcase her as someone
else than who she was in the beginning of the play. A Doll’s House is
full of symbols that represented some kind of meaning that related to the
storyline and society as a whole. One of the many symbols was disease. Disease
in A Doll’s House represents the corrupt behavior that lies within all
humans by representing traits that a person might not want to have, having the
ability to spread and cause other people to become corrupt, and how it is
visible in society through people who cause corruption and lead to larger
problems in the community.

            Sickness represents
the traits that a person might deem as bad and might lead to corruption. The
main traits it refers to in terms of the play are lying and deception. There
are many other traits that are considered to be a disease like trickery,
irresponsibility, disobedience, and dishonesty. These traits lead a person to
do things that are deemed to be wrong by society. There is a reason to why
these traits are considered to be a disease. The reason for this is because a
person usually wants to avoid being or getting sick. In a similar way, no one
actually wants to be defined as someone who lies, cheats, and is deceptive.
There were many characters that were seen to be diseased in some sort of way.
Two people in the play that were morally diseased were Nora and Krogstad.
Krogstad is one of the characters in the play who was blackmailing Nora to
reveal her secrets to Torvald. In the play, Helmer was talking to Nora about
Krogstad and his point of view on how he views the man. He said, “Just think
how a guilty man has to lie and play the hypocrite with everyone, how he has to
wear a mask in the presence of those near and dear to him…,” (37). Helmer
described Krogstad as someone who is hypocritical, guilty, and a liar. This
shows Krogstad to be morally diseased because he showcases traits that a person
should not act upon. If they do act upon these traits, it may cause them to do
something that will negatively impact how people will see them. Krogstad was
the perfect example because he committed forgery because of his selfish
desires. Selfishness is another trait that might be considered a disease. After
his act of forgery, Krogstad’s reputation plummeted to the dirt and that quote
showcased how Helmer viewed him. Another person that is morally diseased would
be Nora. Nora continuously lied and justified her actions by saying that she
was trying to protect her family and trying to save her husband when in fact it
was she who tarnished her family’s reputation. There was one scene where Nora
was caught by Dr. Rank while eating macaroons. Dr. Rank is a close friend of
Torvald and Nora and he is who Nora usually talks to about her problems. Nora
is forbidden to eat macaroons because Torvald thinks that it will ruin her
appearance. When Dr. Rank asked her why she was eating them when she was
clearly prohibited to do so, she said, “…these are some Christine gave to me,”
(26). She was not afraid to lie even when Christine, who is an old friend of
Nora, was in the room with her at the time. This shows how lying just came
easily to her. Similar to how sickness is spread, the traits of lies and
deception also infect the environment in which the person is living in.

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Disease is
spread around easily and in many ways. In the same way, disease is spread in a
more symbolic way in A Doll’s House. It
is the idea that if a person who lies a lot is in the same environment as
someone who does not lie, that person’s bad traits would rub off on the person
with the good traits causing them both to lie. This was mentioned in the play
when Nora and Helmer were discussing Krogstad. Helmer said, “Such an atmosphere
of lies infects and poisons the whole life of a home,” (37). If a person lives
in an environment where there are lies constantly being spread, than there is
no doubt that the child will grow up to lie and do bad things. Thus, the
environment that the child is living in itself would become poisonous and
whoever lives in that environment will catch this disease.  Another thing to keep in mind is that the
longer the disease remains, the worse it becomes. This means that if a person
lies once, they are bound to lie again and again. Without even realizing it,
lying will come to the person easily. Nora began with one lie but continued to
lie to cover up the original lie. That is how she became corrupted. A perfect
example would be Nora who has been spreading lies for so long that she did not
notice that she was affecting the environment she was living in to the point
where the people living there also began to lie. In fact, it was she herself
who spread the disease. There was a scene where Krogstad came to see Nora
secretly and she did not want Torvald to know that he was there. Her children
saw Krogstad and when she saw this she told them, “don’t tell anyone about the
stranger man. Do you hear? Not even papa,” (34). Nora basically told her
children to lie to their father. She was helping to spread this disease. It is
like she injected her children with this poison with her own hands. She does
not realize it until later when Torvald told her that if a person lies it can
affect the people around them. This idea of sickness and corruption represents
a problem to society as a whole and not just in the setting of the play.

Sickness
represents the corruption in modern society. It represents how these traits
exist in modern society and how they are continuously being spread. The longer
they remain without a cure, the worse the sickness becomes. In the same way,
this can be applied to society. Because of the traits that symbolized as being
a disease, they create the bad things people face in society. When Helmer and
Nora were talking about what happens when lying infects the environment, Helmer
said “I have often seen it in the course of my life as a lawyer. Almost
everyone who has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother,”
(37). People who commit heinous crimes have lived in an environment where there
are liars and selfish people. They lived around people that have been raised
with people that have these traits considered to be a disease. This is why they
grow up to commit robbery and murder. Because of hate, there is prejudice and
riots. Because of selfishness, there is assassination and attempts to gain more
power than a person. An example of a person who has acted upon such selfish
traits is Krogstad. Because of lies and deception, it stirs problems and
argument and leads to mistrust and violence. When Nora and Helmer were talking
he said that Krogstad “forged someone’s name,” (36). That is a heinous crime he
did because of his selfish desires. It might have been driven by necessity as
Nora tried to explain. However, what made him morally diseased to Helmer was
that Krogstad “…got himself out of it by a cunning trick,” (37). What Helmer
means is that he never accepted punishment and admitted his fault. In fact, he
continued to lie so he could recover his reputation. There is corruption in
today’s society because people find that the only way to remain in power is
through lies and deception. They fail to realize how much they are hurting the
environment around them. The hate and violence that exists in modern society
comes from the lies and deception that people do and say in basic daily life
and they continue to affect people on a daily basis.

Sickness is a
major theme in A Doll’s House and is linked to many of the characters in
the play. Henrik Ibsen tried to portray how lying and deception could be spread
and how that could be the reason behind why there is corruption. If there is
even one person who lies, it spreads to another being and the cycle repeats
itself. It is never-ending. Society in general is a victim to this. That is why
there are high crime rates and corrupt people in power. There can never be a
world that has no diseases. It always spreads and gets worse if not cured. It is
in the same way that this concept is applied to corruption. If the root is not
dealt with than it eventually leads to destruction.

 

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