Dramatic Irony in 'a Doll's House'

Dramatic Irony

A Doll’s House is full of dramatic irony; the use of dramatic irony serves the purpose of accentuating the play. Dramatic irony refers to a situation in a play where a character’s knowledge is limited and a character is guided by partial misunderstanding of reality. Dramatic irony can also be defined as a situation where the audience / reader and characters on stage have information which the others characters do not have. This essay will focus on the use of dramatic irony through the characters of Nora and Torvald.

At the beginning of the play, Nora expresses her happiness when saying; ‘Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn’t we? Just a tiny bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn lots of money.’ Nora is excited that her husband has been promoted to a higher post and they need not to worry about economic pressures. However, there could be a slight deception to her actual expressions of hidden nervousness for the lack of money to pay off her debt to Krogstad. Nora grew up poor, and has only ever received money from the men in her life, her father and husband. Yet, what motivates Nora is having money, she gets a job secretly, however the money she earns is used to be saved up to pay her debt to Krogstad.

Nora to Mrs. Linde: ‘You all think I’m incapable of doing anything serious.’ Nora feels as though she has no purpose or place in the household, that she is practically Torvalds doll, who gets sheltered and controlled by him. However, the play reveals more to Nora, that of which she has herself a job and makes money for herself. Constantly being referred to by Torvald as his ‘helpless little thing’, ‘little squirrel’ and ‘little lark twittering’ ironically later in the play shows Nora to become more confident and breaks free to be independent of herself and from everyone around her.

Torvald expresses how he feels towards moral degradation about Krogstad to Nora, which is seen as ironic. Torvald explains that Krogstad...