How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening Scene of 'A Doll's House'?
The areas covered on these cards are:
- The set design
- Stage directions
- What Torvold says: vocabulary choices
- What Torvold says: structural and grammatical choices
- What Nora says: vocabulary choices
- What Nora says: structural and grammatical choices
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House'? - Set Design
In the opening scene the set design we are shown the surroundings in which Torvold and Nora live. The house is decorated with quite a few dominating, masculine characteristics, such as 'the small bookcase' and the 'leather-bound books', these also show wealth. In this case, it shows a sense of false wealth, as when we read further into the play, we learn that Nora and Torvold's financial situation is not the best. This is further supported by the description 'not expensively furnished room'.
There is a single window in the room, this could reflect how Nora feels about her relationship with Torvold. The single window could suggest a restricted and perhaps artificial environment. Their home is not simplistically decorated, this could reflect that, when it comes to Nora and Torvold's relationship, there is more than meets the eye; they have clutter and 'bric-a-brac', suggesting that their relationship has secrets and flaws.
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House'? - Stage Directions
The stage directions in the opening scene emphasise both Nora's childish manner and Torvold's possessivness. For example, Nora arrives home and the audience hear her 'contently humming to herself'. This shows us a glimpse of her childish manner and innocence. This is then further emphasised by the way she 'pops the macaroons in her pocket', concealing them from Torvold. This seems as if she is concealing things like a naughty child; she is treated like a child, so she is rebelling like a child. Here, we see lies from the very beginning of the play, and despite them being little, it suggests to the audience that their relathionship is not the most stable. Torvold seems to be portrayed as quite possessive in the opening scene, like when he 'follows her' to the stove. It seems as though Nora is always being watched and that she longs to escape this possessivness. However, when he 'gives her banknotes' her mood changes instantly. This is almost giving her pocketmoney to get her out of a sulk or when she is well behaved, but on a more sinister note - it is dressed up prostitution
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House? - What Torvold says: vocabulary choices.
In the first opening scene the audience witness Torvold talking to Nora in a peculiar way. At times, Torvold can be quite demeaning and patronising towards Nora, for example when he asks 'Has my little squander-bird been overspending again?', the question is not meant or adressed with a direct answer, and he asks it as though he is asking a child a question. Torvold has many pet names for Nora such as, 'squirrel', 'skylark' and 'squander-bird', all of which are small animals. This suggests the delacacy and vunerability of Nora, which is most likely caused by her innocence and naivety.
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House'? - What Torvold says: structural and grammatical choices
The first dialogue we see from Torvold is only question. He asks two very similar questions one after the other, both have the same answer. This shows that he wants attention off Nora and wants to engage in conversation as soon as she walks in the door, but then tells her that she 'musn't disturb' him. This shows that he is also professional in his career.
We also see a more serious side of Torvold when Nora suggests lending money. This shows how proud a character Torvold is to prefer living in difficulty rather that lending money. He explains his opinions with the idea that a house could never be 'a place of freedom and beauty' when lending money is involved.
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House'? - What Nora says: vocabulary choices
Nora's choice of words seem to be quite childish, for example 'Pooh;', and this child like manner is further emphasised with her obsessive spending and obsession with money. The majorityof her conversation with Torvold is money-orientated, and when he says something negative, she sulks and the only way he knows how to get her out of it is by 'handing her some banknotes'.
How is Nora and Torvold's relationship presented in the opening scene of 'A Doll's House'? - What Nora says: structural and grammatical choices
In the opening scene, Nora's grammatical choices are very exclamitive. Her over exclamation of nearly every thing she says shows the audience her skittish and childish character. 'Oh, Torvold!', 'Money!'