Analyze and interpret the relationship between Helmer and Nora in the opening scene of the play.
In the opening scene, Ibsen encourages the audience to sympathize with Nora in all of the following ways EXCEPT
Helmer’s use of infantilizing pet names.
juxtaposition of Nora and Helmer’s opinions of macaroons.
stage directions conveying Nora’s subservient actions.
metaphors implying her husband’s violent temper.
Helmer’s demeaning words describing her spending habits.
Which of the following can be inferred from the line “There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing or debt”? (p.2)
Nora and Torvald are aligned in their views on economizing.
Torvald believes that it is ruinous to live beyond one’s means.
Spending money one does not have is antithetical to success.
Freedom and beauty are values prioritized in Victorian society.
Nora, as a woman, has no power to exert her own convictions.
Describe the relationship between Nora and Helmer in your own words. Explain the techniques that Ibsen uses to convey this relationship.
Based on what you know of the Helmers and of Victorian society, in what ways do they seem to typify a Victorian family? Explain using evidence from the play and the article.
What can you infer about the setting and the Helmer family from the opening stage directions on p. 1? What is the season?
In what ways is the setting specific to its time and place? In what ways is it more general? Why might the author make these choices?
What do you know about the Victorian era and what can you predict about the relationship between Nora and Helmer based on this?
Track Ibsen’s characterization of Nora throughout this opening scene. What do we learn about her? (Her beliefs, physical appearance, attitudes, etc.)
What techniques does he use to convey this information?
What does Helmer’s use of pet names for Nora convey about their relationship? About Helmer as a character?
Track Ibsen’s characterization of Helmer throughout these opening pages. What do you learn about him? (His beliefs, physical appearance, attitudes, etc.)
What does Nora do with the Christmas tree? Why? Track further appearances of the tree.
What conflict emerges in this opening scene?
What is Ibsen’s tone toward the characters? With which character does he seem to want us to sympathize?
In what way’s is the character of Nora reflective of Victorian norms? In what ways does Ibsen seem to be challenging these norms through her character?
Where in this opening scene does Ibsen signal that the Helmers’ marriage is largely based on appearances?
What is the significance of the title? Who is the “doll”? What does it imply about her life?