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Existential Models of Love in A Doll’s House and The Seducer’s Diary Anonymous


According to Soren Kierkegaard, there are three categorizations of individuals based on their motive and actions: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the spiritual. In The Seducer’s Diary, Kierkegaard presents the character of Johannes as a common aesthete who focuses his life on the single-minded pursuit of individual pleasure. The story follows his romantic pursuit of Cordelia, the current in a long list of young women he has conquered and deserted. On the other hand, Henrik Ibsen’s character of Torvald Helmer in A Doll’s Home appears to be Johannes’ opposite in his inspirations, in his approach to relationships with ladies, and in what he believes the function of such relationships is. Whereas Johannes is consumed with the satisfaction of his personal desires at the cost of society, Torvald derives gratification from complying with societal standards to the best degree possible, even at the cost of individual relationships.

Torvald’s ethical desire to live up to society’s requirements prompts his issue for his reputation and his desire for the admiration of others, and contributes to his belief that Nora ought to serve to promote his social standing. Torvald’s severe sensitivity to others’ understandings of him can be viewed as his inspiration for the treatment of those around him. For instance, Torvald admits that Krogstad’s polluted past is not a major problem, which his hard work is a boon to the bank, but desires to fire the male since of personal vanity. It is the possibility of Torvald’s previous association with Krogstad being revealed that makes the male’s employment “excruciating” and “excruciating” for Torvald, as Torvald now views as his previous good friend as below him. Torvald plainly puts his associates’ understanding of him above what it seems need to be more vital to a future supervisor: a diligent manpower that will benefit the bank. Torvald refuses to even acknowledge Nora’s arguments on Krogstad’s behalf, indignantly saying, “What if it was reported around now that the new bank supervisor was vetoed by his better half?” and after that concluding, “We’ll stop this for great,” seeming to refer to both the issue of Krogstad’s work and Nora’s lack of assistance for his decisions. In doing so, Torvald reprimands Nora’s impertinence in questioning him, and demonstrates his assuredness in his own judgment and his doubt in Nora’s, consequently cementing his status as the supreme decision-maker in the household. Undoubtedly, there is no doubt on Torvald’s part to deny a man of work and belittle his partner’s viewpoints. Established for the functions of screen, Nora’s appeal is seen by her partner as her most considerable characteristic. In truth, through his little rules and insistences, it can be seen that he values his wife’s potential to make a fascinating exhibit and increase his status in the eyes of others more than the degree of her actual enjoyment in taking part in such an act. Macaroons, for instance, are “prohibited” an act of upkeep because they will “destroy [Nora’s] teeth,” though she enjoys them. Celebrations Nora performs at must be exited early regarding not “ruin the impact” of her efficiency and satisfy Torvald’s physical requirements, though Nora pleads to stay longer.

In these acts, Torvald takes on an air of preserving and developing a financial investment in a really accurate, calculated way. After seeing Nora dance the tarantella, Torvald critiques her performance as “too naturalistic,” showing that he requires even the leisure activities in his life to strictly follow the standards of propriety. Torvald appears to value his task for its “overwhelming success” as evidenced by “a tumultuous hand,” more than the mentor process, even questioning if their wedding rehearsals were time “well-spent.” Interactions in between Nora and Torvald are characterized by his efforts to refine her abilities as an eminence symbol. Therefore, it can be seen that Torvald wants to sacrifice much and dedicate much energy to preserving and advancing his credibility, which he feels counts on his close adherence to ethical standards society sets for him.

The pleasure Johannes obtains is intellectually originated from observing the psychological impacts of his calculated emotional manipulation of young women. In his seductions, Johannes shows the visual quality of flouting social norms for the sake of a sensually fulfilling experience. His dedication to looking for and mastering appeal consumes his entire identity. He states, “I ascertain how [love] has actually taken shape in her, and I style myself in its similarity,” revealing his personality to be fluid and to exist exactly to facilitate his conquests. Enjoying the practice of art on life, Johannes’ engineering of emotional, physical, and psychological “outright surrender” from a female are certainly outside what is excused by the social order. Johannes has no intent of making any commitment to the females and thinks about” [receding] from [a girl’s being] is a work of art” due to the fact that he modifies their lives forever. This furthermore enables him to determine the emotional credibility of surrender. Johannes is therefore truthful with himself about his simply selfish visual intents, in contrast to Torvald, who forces or pictures the compliance of others when it is not forthcoming, as in the case of Krogstad’s dismissal. Johannes has the ability to do this since he focuses less on external appearance, which just titillates him quickly in the start of an affair, and more on controlling and molding the time he spends with Cordelia, paying special attention to the emotions his words and actions trigger in her. He finds Cordelia appealing for her pureness and the absence of “interestingness” due to living a paradoxically protected life in which she is “given freedom but … no chances [are] offered to her.” With a lady as filled with unfinished potential such as her, Johannes delights in the process in which he makes her “intriguing” by inscribing himself on her psyche, bringing about her sexual awakening, and then abandoning her when he has ended up being established as part of her identity. Johannes states that “in art, the most intriguing always reflects the artist,” and prospers in this by remaining an effective part of Cordelia’s life. When “the memory [of Johannes] awakens in her soul, she forgets the fault and the guilt, she remembers the lovely minutes.” This eventually marks the accomplishment of Johannes’ ability a seducer, artist, and aesthete over Torvald’s treatment of Nora in accordance to bourgeois standards and his own ego, since after both men betray the women they like, Cordelia still longs for Johannes because the significance of their time together is the distinction in between her relationship and Nora’s.

Johannes has a higher sense of self awareness than Torvald because he recognizes the distinction in between the possible courses his life could take, and devotes himself entirely to the aesthetic. He even buffoons society’s position, stating he himself is above reproach due to the fact that he has “never … provided a woman a promise of marital relationship” out of his “regard for the ethical.” Johannes ridicules the conventions that Torvald so painstakingly follows as hollow. The value society put on promises and obligation in a relationship, is rendered ineffective and unneeded in acquiring intimacy with a young woman if one is skillful enough to attract her emotionally. Though the aesthetic individual’s supreme objective is to leave the boring and create interesting situations (and in Johannes’ case, fascinating individuals), Johannes is not above acting boring yet another symptom of his psychological manipulation. Paradoxically to derives visual enjoyment, Johannes should pretend to be ethical when he sets up Edvard and Cordelia’s courtship. Johannes employs dissimulative habits to render subtle impressions in carrying on an exceedingly ordinary discussion on farming and bookbinding with Cordelia’s auntie to “produce the most undesirable contrast to Edvard’s uncertainty.” Johannes’ action is not ethical because it is an important step in his seduction of Cordelia- her exposure to men weaker than Johannes, therefore rendering Johannes better. Like his visual engagements, Johannes’ discussions, though having the appearance of conventionality to the point of dreariness, they actually mocks the ethical as unimaginative. He feigns interest butter as the “remarkable result of nature and art” to highlight the exalting of normal ideas by ethicists. Johannes presumes this ethical function so well nevertheless, it appears that Cordelia’s aunt is “bewitched.” Johannes is a severe aesthete, however is not so immersed in his selected viewpoint that he can not comprehend how society anticipates him to act, and to presume this role when his art needs.

Torvald, in turn, likewise is capable of showing aesthetic qualities, both in line with what society expects of him and versus it. Torvald’s technique of evaluation of Nora’s beauty involves an interior dream that is reminiscent of Johannes’ visual reflections. Torvald pictures he is seeing Nora for nearly the very first time by,” [speaking] so little to [her], [keeping] away from [her], and just [sending out] a stolen glance in [her] direction once in a while” as part he acts his own dream they are just recently familiarized and “nobody thinks there is anything in between [them]” In doing so he can apparently newly appreciate Nora’s charm each time and feel the enjoyment and secret of a blossoming relationship. That Nora derives fulfillment from this evaluation, is a provided for him, however a deception in reality. Torvald’s rejoinder of, “You won’t? Am I not your other half?” to her rejection of his romantic advances marks him as the kind of seducer Johannes disdains to be. Johannes has comparable techniques to keep young ladies lured by a “clandestine manner,” saying “just when no alien thinks our love, only then does it have meaning.” Therefore, Torvald wrongly thinks of Nora is in a state of complete compliance, just to be consulted with refusal, while Johannes manipulates those he pursues to in fact achieve such a state. Johannes, pursues this exact same excitement of mystery and conquest, but it in its real form, not an envisioned one. Being a visual constitutes in part, of having no regard for responsibilities beyond those needed to gratify oneself. Torvald certainly abandons his traditional responsibilities as a husband when Nora’s forgery is found. In specifying, “When I’m gone from this world, you’ll be free,” Nora might be speaking about exiting Torvald’s life and even devoting suicide. Nevertheless, Torvald does not presume his typical socially appropriate role a protector and father-like figure to his partner in reaction, however brusquely plays down the declaration. Torvald asks Nora, “what good [your absence] would ever do to me?” implying the only significance of Nora’s wellness to Torvald is how it affects him (Ibsen 106). While the wellness of a male was considered of higher significance than the wellbeing of a female throughout this time period, Torvald is extreme in his selfishness. He is no longer acting upon a purely ethical impulse as this concern would most likely not have reflected well on Torvald’s character had he postured it in the general public. Even in personal conversations, Torvald normally holds himself to purchasing from declarations of care towards his better half, formerly announcing,” I’ve wished you remained in some awful danger, so I could stake my life and soul and everything, for your sake” (104 ). Ironically, now that Torvald finds himself in this position, he does not act in the socially appropriate and chivalrous way he formerly assured. Much less than risking his soul for Nora’s sake, Torvald can’t even bring himself to risk his reputation. The reality that such a grand sentiment was expressed in private programs that Torvald’s ethical behavior is not just scheduled for settings with observers. It validates Torvald’s break with acceptable habits in favor of an exclusive issue for his own requirements is as severe as that of any devotee of aestheticism.

Though Torvald is inclined to base his actions on ethical principals, and Johannes on the pursuit of aesthetic benefits, neither fit precisely in these classifications. Both can dip into the opposite classification, Torvald when he feels threatened and Johannes when it is needed for his supreme quest enjoyment. Therefore, the various approaches of living outlined by Kierkegaard are not so universal as to include and perfectly describe every aspect and tendency of every character. Though Ibsen was a supporter of Kierkegaard’s work, it doubts if Ibsen specifically had in mind the philosophical meaning of the ethical while creating the character of Torvald. However, keeping these groupings in mind while taking a look at the interaction of these characters with their environment works in understanding their motivations.

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