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Conflict When the Will of an Individual Opposes the Will of the Majority (Research Paper Sample)


Conflict When the Will of an Individual Opposes the Will of the Majority

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Conflict When the Will of an Individual Opposes the Will of the Majority
A Doll’s House is one of the greatest plays by Henrik Ibsen. In the play, a major conflict exists between Nora Helmer the protagonist and Torvald Helmer who represents the will of the majority and societal norms. Throughout the play, Nora Helmer’s free will opposes that of the majority in the play. Nora is determined to explore and find out the person she really is, and at the same time re-invent herself (Ibsen 63). The entire society in Ibsen’s play has developed a set on norms and social conventions. However, the protagonist of the play Nora Helmer is constantly burdened by such social conventions thus resulting in a strong conflict between the society and her. This paper will discuss the nature of this conflict between the will of an individual opposes that of the majority and the subsequent implications ethical and moral implications for both the society and the individual.
Conflict When the Will of an Individual Opposes the Will of the Majority
The conflict existing between Nora and the views and will of the majority is the basis through which the play has been created. Nora is constantly determined to achieve personal freedom and live her own life without having to stick to the will of the majority and societal norms. For instance, as a wife, Nora is required to obey all the wishes of Torvald Helmer unconditionally as the husband. Since this is the will of the greatest majority but opposed to Nora’s expectations, she is forced not to indulge in her main desires such as macaroons. The husband forbids Nora from having such macaroons because of the conflict resulting from their individual wills. The conflict is also pronounced throughout the play as Nora is forced to obey all wishes of Torvald and the reason she is forced not to stay and enjoy the party (Ibsen 52).
It is also the expectation of the majority that the wife should submit to the husband always. Nora is forced to remain compliant and never expected to express their views regarding sex (Liew 1). This is exactly what happens after the fanciful dress party. This kind of conflict is used by the playwright to explain the conflict existing between an individual and the society as a whole.
Another thing explaining the existing conflict between the society’s will and that of Nora as an individual is the issue about work. In the play, it is the expectation and expectation of the society that only men should work and women stay at home, clean the compounds, and also take care of the children. In this society, the will of the majority, which forms a societal norm, is that respectable and married women should not work. “However, Nora is in conflict with this understanding because there is a debt she has to repay and also satisfy her own desires and financial needs (Bradford 3).” This convention and will of the majority is in total conflict with Nora’s expectations because she wants to earn her own money. This is why she goes ahead to do a copying-job secretly without having to inform the husband. The fact that she does her personal jobs secretly explains this kind of conflict further (Hamad 5). In this society, almost every person believes that married women should not earn money, but should depend on their husbands’ income. When Nora needs money, she is forced to persuade her husband. She says that “she has been treated as a beggar, from her hand to mouth (Liew 2).”
It is also the expectation of the majority that women in this society should be gentle, demure, and gentle. This stereotyping of women is something highly detested by Nora Helmer since the will conflicts with her desire to express her own opinions and thoughts regarding what she wants to be addressed. She views this as a loophole used by men to abuse their wives and make their lives unbearable or pathetic. Because of this understanding, Nora is willing to bend this norm despite the fact that she is somebody’s wife (Yuehua 80). As well, while she would want to raise concerns at the time she feels like, she is unable to do so especially in the presence of her husband.
Another will and opinion held in this society is that women are never expected to have their own free will or opinions. This is opposed to Nora’s wish whereby she wants her thoughts to remain free and unquestioned. To a very huge extend, most of her opinions have been shaped by her husband and father. Nora says that, “while she was growing up, her Dad always determined she was supposed to do (Ibsen 34).” After getting married, she joined the thoughts of her husband, and her opinions and ideas had no place in the society. It is because of this conventions and existing conflict that Nora remains extremely deviant and ignorant regarding most of the things in the family and society.
Since marriage was held as something significant in the society, Nora appears to be opposed to the idea, and is not willing to continue living a life dominated by a person she does not love at all. She realizes with great sorrow that for all her life she had been forced to live a totally different life from what she would have wanted. Her will is therefore in constant conflict with what the majority hold to be right (Hamad 4). Because of the societal norms, Nora is disappointed because she was never given a chance to become the person she would have wanted to be.
Towards the end of the play, the audience should acknowledge that Nora’s ‘will and courage’ takes over the whole situation: she is willing to take control of her personal life by breaking all the societal chains. She makes a crucial decision of leaving Torvald and their children. At this point she notes with sincerity that “both her husband and father had shown her the wrong path, and it was their fault that she had not made anything better from her life (Yuehua 82)” By leaving her husband, Nora Helmer is ready to explore her own world and discover the whole truth about herself. She goes ahead with her plan despite the fact that Torvald is against the decision.
Having made the decision, Nora is ready to educate herself and as a result gain knowledge about things such as law, humanity morality, and religion, among other subjects held secret by men. This kind of decision shows how intense the existing conflict between one individual’s will and that of the majority appears to take center stage. Nora is no longer concerned with people’s thoughts and ideas, or what the will of the greatest majority is. She is ready and dedicated to get out of marriage and complete what she views as her own duty and sacred obligation towards self-discovery.
It is observable that Torvald is constantly concerned mainly with the family reputation. It is because of this issue that she disagrees with her wife who is greatly interested in pursuing her own will, and also to rediscover herself. Nora Helmer therefore says that “her main duties belong to herself; she is not ready to be only a good wife or mother without understanding more than being only a plaything (Hamad 13).” Therefore, Nora’s husband is represented as the ‘majority will’ in this play. It is because of Torvald’s narcissism and desire to maintain the societal reputation that he remains extremely baffled after Nora walks out of their marriage leaving the children behind. The banging of the door signifies the opening of a n...
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