For example, Torvald often refers to his wife as a "squirrel," indicating that she spends a great deal of money. She has to hide the macaroons that she purchases and wipe the evidence from her mouth when she asks him to come see what she has bought. At first, Torvald replies, "Don't disturb me," (Ibsen 1) and closes the office door. He then returns with a pen in his hand, questioning her. "Bought, did you say? All these things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?"
In addition, Torvald makes statements like, "That is like a woman," (Ibsen 2). His attitude toward women and toward his wife in general is rather traditional and formal, and Nora does not appear to be that way. Breaking free of him seemed to her to be the best thing to do under the circumstances. In the end, Nora chooses to leave her husband and her life behind, which is only a fitting balance for the reunion of Mrs. Linde with her husband.
3. Manipulation is a central theme throughout the play. One of the more obvious instances of manipulation is that of Torvald toward his wife. He manipulates her in a traditional sense, as he plays the traditional role of a husband at that time. Referring to her as his "squirrel" and "lark" and withholding money are just small indicators of his manipulation. He also sets rules and rules over her life in a sense, as indicated by his disapproval of her eating macaroons, spending money on herself, and other things.
The relationship between Nora and Krogstad is also based on manipulation. He knows that she forged her father's signature, and knows the real source of the money she borrowed for their trip to Italy. When his standing in the community is jeopardized due to acts of forgery, Krogstad resorts to desperate measures and blackmails Nora into persuading her husband into keeping him on at the bank. He manipulates her by playing on the issue of his sons, saying that, "For their sake I must win back as much respect as I can in the town" (Ibsen 22). He needs to keep his job at the bank that Nora's manipulative husband works at. In essence, he is using manipulation to make Nora manipulate her manipulative husband.
Nora's relationship with Dr. Ranker is another example of the manipulation of the characters in this story. Dr. Ranker is hopelessly in love with Nora, which gives her some power over him. She useds this to her advantage, flirting with him in order to get on his side and be written into his will. "The lovely Mrs. Nora Helmer is to have all I possess paid over to her at once in cash" (14). The text does indicate that she is not responsible with money, but is always after it, encouraging her husband to take out loans, suggesting that "We can just borrow it until then," (1) and then later suggesting that if something were to happen to her husband, she wouldn't even want to know who the money was owed to lest the debt become her responsibility.
Several paragraphs in the text support the idea that Torvald does appreciate the fair looks of his wife, and she manipulates him by playing on that, as evidenced from the very beginning. When asking for money, she walks away from him to the stove and he follows her. "Come, come, my little skylark," he says. "She must not droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper?" He then hands her money, which she quickly counts as two pounds "for housekeeping at Christmas-time" (2).
Nora doesn't stop there with her manipulation. The text describes her "playing with his coat buttons, and without raising her eyes to his." She begins to suggest that he might want to give her some money for herself, "only just as much as you can afford," she says. "And then one of these days I will buy something with it.
The entire story is rich with manipulation. This can be viewed as a mirror of society and how people get by manipulating and using one another without intending to, just due to the nature of our…