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Illusion and Reality in A Doll’s House


Reality or illusion? When the dream world individuals produce in order to manage the absurdity of life is brought too far into truth, it ends up being hard to distinguish between credibility and fiction. This uncertainty is apparent in both Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s Home, in which marital relationships are solely based on illusion. Both couples in the dramas usage illusions to prevent feeling the fact and the discomfort of failures. Yet, in the end, they are forced to awaken from the phony world in which they have lived and by freely expressing their sensations develop wish for progress. It is important to remove away impression in order to experience life honestly and fully.

The relationship in between Martha and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is bothering from the very beginning, for it was established upon illusion. Martha wed George not since of who he actually was, but, since of who she imagined he might become. As she tells Nick in the first act, “I understood about then of marrying into the college … which didn’t appear to be as dumb as it turned out” (Albee 79). Her dad was the president of the College in New Carthage, and Martha, being his only child, hoped to gain control of it herself through marital relationship. Therefore, she wed the illusion of George, who likewise bought into it himself. Yet, when they recognized that this impression is not genuine, since George didn’t have “the guts to” (Albee 85) prosper her dad, their marital relationship was harmed significantly.

Yet, the dominant impression in George and Martha’s lives lies in the seed of their relationship. Since they could not have any kids of their own and lived a dog’s life, they chose to create a fictional kid. Therefore, the binding force in their relationship is also an illusion. Although Albee does not inform the audience straight of the child’s unreality until the very end, he offers hints that indicate this throughout the play. The first tip is provided when George alerts Martha not to “begin in on the bit about the kid” (Albee 18) as their two a.m. visitors get to the door. The young boy’s physical perfection ‘blond haired, blue considered’ also foreshadows the reality that he is an illusion. Then, as George and Martha utilize the kid to assault each other, their bizarre insults adds to the unreality of the boy. Martha first says that George used to make him sick all the time and George counterattacks by claiming that “the genuine reason our kid … utilized to throw up all the time was … [because] he could not stand … you fiddling at him” (Albee 120). Finally, in the last act when George informs Martha that their boy has been “killed” and Martha tells him that he “can not decide these things” (Albee 232) it emerges, even to Nick, that their son is merely a development of the mind. Through Martha’s response, nevertheless, it can be seen that the blurring of impression and reality can trigger something that is entirely delusional to have a very genuine emotional effect.

Likewise, in A Doll’s House Nora and Torvald’s entire marriage is developed on illusions. The characters’ untruthfulness and dishonesty towards each other marks their entire relationship. This is first exposed when Torvald asks Nora whether or not she broke any guidelines today and had actually “taken a bite at a macaroon or 2” (Ibsen 6). In spite of the fact that the audience had simply seen Nora pop macaroons into her mouth as she was available in, Nora completely rejects it and tells Torvald wrongly that “I should not believe of breaking your desires” (Ibsen 6). Ibsen utilizes situational paradox here to reveal that their entire marriage is based upon phony appearances.

The best deceptiveness in their relationship, nevertheless, is in the kind of Nora’s secret financial obligation. When Torvald was ill, she covertly borrowed money from Krogstad in order to travel to a southern climate to enhance his condition. Until this day, Nora has actually not pointed out the matter to her other half and had actually been secretly paying back the debt, for she claims that Torvald and their marital relationship can not sustain the knowledge of this trick. “How painful and embarrassing it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to understand that he owed me anything. It would disturb our mutual relations completely;” (Ibsen 13). Therefore, Torvald’s ‘manly self-reliance’ is only an illusion making the basis by which they treat each other likewise fake.

Impressions are so typical in both dramas that they blend in with truth till even the characters find it hard to distinguish in between what seems true and what is false. In truth, in most of Albee’s play, George and Martha are participating in emotional and psychological ‘video games.’ This ends up being apparent when Martha states to the confused Nick that “there is only one man in my life who has ever … made me happy … George” (Albee 189-190). In spite of continuously insulting and embarrassing George, Martha still truly loves him. With this paradox Albee tips that their arguments are simply part of a video game which not whatever is as it seems. Martha supports this idea when she advises Nick that he ought to not “always deal in look” (Albee 190). Moreover, the only factor Martha seduces Nick is to get George’s attention and make him jealous. Yet, George acts as though he is indifferent and starts checking out a book while Martha sexually captivates Nick. Later on, it emerges when George releases his fury alone on stage that he was only pretending not to care. Therefore, their actions may all be false appearances. Nick even comments at the end that he does not know when George and Martha are lying. By blurring the lines between reality and impression, Albee shows that it is not important whether something is a lie or not, yet the significance depends on how individuals select to exist in a situation that they have actually found themselves trapped.

As a result of the lies between Nora and Torvald, the roles they each presume in their marriage are merely appearance. Nora, for example, takes the role of a child-wife and mom who is totally depending on Torvald and who is a spendthrift when it concerns cash. Torvald likewise supports this illusion through the names he utilizes to refer to her. For example, he calls Nora “my little squirrel” and “my little skylark” (Ibsen 4). Ibsen utilizes animal imagery to show that Torvald concerns Nora as a small powerless animal. Nora in turn reinforces her produced role by serving as she understands Torvald wants her to be. The full falseness of her actions only ends up being clear in the last scene of Act One when Nora informs Torvald that she absolutely needs his assistance, even with such a trifling concern as picking an outfit for the upcoming ball. “Torvald, couldn’t you take me in hand and decide what I will go as … I can’t get along a bit without your aid” (Ibsen 27). The audience understands, however, that Nora is not as powerless as she acts, for she had decided all by herself the important concern of borrowing money in order to save Torvald’s life. Therefore, the Nora Torvald believes he is married to is simply an impression, and Torvald can not tell the distinction in between the phony, helpless Nora and the real one.

Furthermore, Torvald takes the role of Nora’s protector, who would risk his life in order to save her. This is “the fantastic thing” (Ibsen 48) that Nora believes is going to occur when Torvald finds out about her debt and forgery. Since ladies at that time might not sign a loan, even if it was for the sake of their household, Nora forged her dad’s signature when she borrowed money from Krogstad, who now threatens to expose and humiliate her. Torvald, however, has also led her to think that he will rescue her from this problem. He even tells Nora after he learns that his friend, Dr. Rank, is dying: “Do you understand, Nora, I have actually typically wished that you may be threatened by some great threat, so that I may risk my life’s blood and everything for your sake” (Ibsen 58). Yet, this was just an impression of Torvald that Nora in fact thought. When the time comes for him to learn about the financial obligation, Torvald shows that he was a hypocrite and vulgarly abuses Nora for bringing this pity upon him and even renounces her as his partner.

At the end of each drama all these illusions are destroyed forcing the characters to come face to face with reality. In Who hesitates of Virginia Woolf?, George resolves the play by declaring the death of their imaginary kid, who “drove into a large tree” as “he swerved to avoid a porcupine” (Albee 231). This is a type of paradox where Albee uses impression to damage another impression. Though the boy, when he was a trick, supplied a way of binding George and Martha together, after he was presented to the real life, he became a source by which they attacked each other. Hence, George realizes that their kid has actually been brought too far into reality leading to a negative effect on their marital relationship. As an outcome, he sacrifices the kid, who can be viewed as a Christ figure, in order to save their marital relationship. In truth, Albee entitles the last Act “The Exorcism” referring to George’s exorcism of the damaging power of their illusory son on their marital relationship. When George tells Martha at the end that “It will be … better” she answers with “I don’t … understand” (Albee 240). Although there is unpredictability regarding whether their marital relationship will make it, at least now there is expect progress because they can finally live honestly and truthfully without illusions. Yet, they must now experience truth no matter how painful it is, which frightens Martha. Hence, the title of the play can, in reality, be equated into “who’s afraid to live without illusions?”

In A Doll’s House, the illusion of Nora and Torvald’s marital relationship is also ruined providing an opportunity to advance as individuals. At the end, when Torvald’s response to the news of Nora’s forgery is far from what she anticipated, she realizes that she has been coping with a total stranger. Nora confesses to him that “when the wonderful thing did not take place, then I saw you were not the male I had actually thought you” (Ibsen 66). Discovering that her spouse confuses appearance with value and that he is more concerned with his position in society than with the psychological needs of his wife, Nora is required to challenge her individual worthlessness. She understands that she has actually been residing in a “doll’s home” and that her hubby has been “having fun with her just as … [she] utilized to have fun with her dolls” (Ibsen 63). In reality, their first sincere expression of feeling happens at the end when Nora challenges Torvald about her conclusions. Thus, she ruins their “doll home” by deciding to leave her husband and look for her identity. This produces expect truthful human relationships in the future. Maybe in years to come, Nora and Torvald will also be able to restore their marital relationship.

Both Who hesitates of Virginia Woolf? and A Doll’s House question the entire material of marital relationships. The marriage between each couple in the dramas was exclusively based on impression. This in turn blurs the line between reality and fantasy and produces unbelievable, meaningless lives. A life of illusion is wrong because it produces a false material in life. Just by expressing real sensations and feelings can relationships really progress.

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