Signification of the Slamming of the Door in A Doll's House

The slamming of the door bears paramount significance in the play. Nora, the protagonist of Ibsen's much discussed play A Doll's House is a developing character. In the earlier half of the play we see her as a submissive wife and a dutiful mother. As she knows her husband more she becomes aware of her own position and more self-conscious.

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

All her life she has lived according to her husband's will with no sense of self. Her patronizing and domineering husband is a representative of the patriarchal society. Her slamming the door at the end of the play is thematically significant because it symbolically stands for Nora's revolt against her husband and by extension a slap in the face of patriarchy.

Nora was dominated and controlled by her father before marriage and afterwards her husband was the agency for dominating her. Helmer never treated her as equal. He treated her as his chattel. She existed for her husband. However, she had always expected that her husband would come to her aid when she will be in trouble. She had been waiting for miracles to happen in the Krogstad's case too. She had the fear that the villain would expose everything and their family would be undone. Contrary to her expectation, her husband behaved like a hypocrite concerned more with morality and a notion of social prestige not with his wife's welfare and care. He came out in his true colors. Nora realized that her husband didn't see her as an individual, but only as a wife and mother. She knew what her husband was like. She wanted to dissolve her ties with him by abandoning him and the children. She thought her duty towards herself was above her duty as a mother and wife. Her status as a non - entity was a product of the functioning of patriarchy. She wanted to educate herself and establish her own identity. Slamming the door is the explosion of her energies against patriarchy. It's a challenge to patriarchy. It's a bold act of revolt against male domination. The crux of the whole play hinges on this single incident. It is an individual's search for freedom.

It signifies that a lady who realizes the necessity to cultivate her full identity must be ready to sacrifice even an atom of care and concern for her children and husband. Motherly duty, the instinct of motherhood, and unconditional love for her husband are the real obstacles on the path to cultivate an identity for those ladies who are rebellious. To slam the door is to turn a deaf ear to the call of motherly duty. Maternal privilege blocks the progressive march towards the formation of identity. A lady in whom a feminist awakening has come must battle against the fascinating call of motherhood to slam the door is tantamount to discarding maternal and family role. To slam the door means to decide to rise above the temptation of baser impulses like feelings and affections. To slam the door is to slam the metaphoric door of love, sentiment and affection. To slam the door is to prepare to open the new door of identity and individuality. To slam the door means to encourage the conscious women that women should partake of active revolt against male dictatorship. The actual significance of the slamming of the door lies in the presentation of the fact that even such an ignorant and submissive wife Nora go to the violent level of launching an active revolt against male domination and dictatorship. Its metaphoric significance emerges from the fact that the slamming of the door stands for the optimistic emergence of a new revolution that is called feminism.

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