Torvald Helmer's behavior towards his wife, Nora, thoroughly demonstrates how .
men of his era treat women as nothing more than insignificant items to be possessed and .
shown off. In other words, he is a stereotypical nineteenth century bourgeois male who .
lives his life according to society's norms. He is smug, pompous, self-righteous, .
hypocritical, selfish, and a bit thick-headed. He has worked so hard to provide for his .
family and to rise to his present comfortable place in the social hierarchy. Therefore, .
since his greatest fear is losing that place, he is inordinately concerned with appearances .
and with maintaining a spotless reputation and a great deal of respectability. He thinks he .
loves his wife, but what he loves is an idea of his wife, an idea of her as a pretty doll that .
he can play with or a child whom he can manage and protect. The more Nora depends on .
him, the more important he feels. The more fragile, silly, and childlike she behaves, the .
stronger and wiser he thinks he must be.
Since Torvald is so wrapped up with appearances and is so concerned with this .
status in the home and in the community, his sole motivation in life is to be in control. .
He enjoys being in control and takes great delight in his position of authority as a .
husband. This is evident in the language he uses to speak to and describe Nora. .
Throughout the play, Nora is any number of varied pets-"squirrel", "song-bird", "sky-.
lark"-to Torvald. This shows us the way Torvald sees and treats his wife. For him Nora .
is the little animal. She is the weak, young, and innocent little girl who will perform .
exactly the way he wants her to. He treats her like this to prove that he is the man of the .
house, and has the power while Nora is the weak and helpless wife. This also proves .
how demeaning Torvald is to women and how he sees himself as superior to them. .
The most obvious example of Torvald's physical control over Nora can be seen in .