In past history, society has been both very prejudiced and traditional with its view of gender roles. Often times a woman would not have had the same right to something as a man did. Many women however went against the law and tradition to do what they thought was right. In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, Nora does something that is unimaginable during the time period. Nora’s husband Torvald believes he is the man of the house and that his wife should be grateful and entertaining for him. Nora however signs her father’s name to a document in an attempt to do something she feels is right.
What she doesn’t realize though is that by doing so she has committed forgery. Nora’s act of forgery was inspired by many reasons, and resulted in both expected and unexpected outcomes. Nora was inclined for many reasons to commit the forgery. At the time Torvald was on the verge of dying and Nora desperately wanted to save him. Doctors warned Nora that her husband’s “life was in danger” and the only thing that would “save him [was] a stay in the south” (Ibsen 976). Nora couldn’t afford to travel though and was forced to somehow find the money.
During this time period however “a wife [couldn’t] borrow without her husband’s consent”, so Nora had to get a man’s signature to take out a loan (976). Nora knew Torvald would not take out a loan because it would hurt his reputation as a banker, so she forged her father’s signature instead without telling Torvald. Her father “was so sick” and could hardly get around on his own (984). As “sick as he was” Nora did not want to disturb or hassle her father for his signature so she signed the document herself (984).
Before this incident, Nora felt insignificant and thought she’d done nothing in her life to feel good about. All she ever did was please Torvald and obey his directions. When Nora learned of this opportunity she wanted to do something that would cause her “to be proud and happy” for herself (975). This greatly motivated Nora into forging the signature. After Nora finally obtained the money she needed there were many expected outcomes as a result. Nora finally had “something to be proud and happy for” (975). She was tired of having no significance and doing nothing important.
She now felt like she had something to show for her life since she was “the one who saved Torvald’s life” (975). Without Nora’s actions “Torvald never would have lived” (975). Nora “was the one who raised the money” and got the loan that allowed them to travel south (976). She realized though the biggest drawback to getting the money was that she would have to lie to Torvald. Nora was well aware that “[Torvald] mustn’t [know], for anything in the world” or else he would lose his honor, and their home would never be the same again (975).
Nora also had another reason for not telling Torvald about the forgery and loan. Nora made Torvald happy and pleased him by “dancing and dressing up and reciting for him” (977). She believed however that a time would come when she was “no longer attractive” to Torvald (977). Only then would she reveal to him her miraculous deed. It would be something she kept “in reserve” for when Torvald thought she wasn’t as good anymore (977). Although there were many rewards from the forgery, Nora also experienced some serious consequences. Forging a signature was a crime during the novel’s setting, and still is today.
If the document with the forged signature was ever “introduced to court” Nora could’ve been convicted as a criminal and “judged according to law” (984). Fortunately a court never saw the document and Nora got a break. Nora was not quite as lucky the next time though. Torvald was about to release Krogsdad, a man who worked for him at the bank. Krogsdad however was the one who had loaned Nora the money and he was well aware of the forgery. To prevent himself from being fired Krogsdad blackmailed Nora and told her to make sure Torvald kept him employed.
Krogsdad threatened Nora that “if [he] got shoved down” Nora was “going to keep [him] company” (984). After much suffering and thought Nora finally told Torvald her secret about the forgery and how she got the loan. Torvald was furious with Nora and later admitted “[he didn’t] dare trust [Nora] anymore” after what she did behind his back (1013). This was certainly an unexpected consequence for Nora. Nora’s forgery of her father’s signature was generated by a number of things, which had many effects that were both beneficial and detrimental to her.
Nora learned many things about herself and her life from the forgery experience. If society’s rules hadn’t hindered Nora from taking out a loan herself she would not of had to go through all the trouble that she did. The events of Nora’s forgery are a clear example of how the female gender has been prevented from doing things important to them. It was because of the stereotypes and prejudice in place that Nora had to go through what she did. Hopefully society can learn from these lessons and make the world a more equal place for both men and women to live in.