A Dolls House, written by Henrik Ibsen, and Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, have many connections between them. Different characters and view points were established in both books, characters in both the novels share similar and different personality traits, and the themes and tones of the two are common.
Torvald Helmers character in A Dolls House is a husband who is hardworking, gives in to his wife, and a man who must maintain his title. He is a father of three children and a soon-to-be manager of a bank. “Be at rest and feel secure…Her is shelter for you; here I will protect you like a hunted dove that I have saved from a hawks claws; I will bring peace to your poor beating heart” (Ibsen 65) Torvald says this to his wife after he finds out what his wife has done and that his wife no longer wants to be with him.
The wife of Torvald Helmer, Nora Helmer, is always happy, lovable, but yet naÃ¯ve. She is characterized as a doll who is played with. “I have been your doll wife, just as at home I was Papa’s doll child…” (Ibsen 67). She later finds out that she has been “played” with just like a doll when the truth of her forging her father’s signature is exposed. She states that it was because she was treated like a doll that she has made nothing of her life and soon decides to leave her husband and kids after the truth behind her secret was spilled by Nils Krogstad..
Nils Krogstad is lawyer and works under Torvald Helmer. Krogstad was in an unhappy marriage which led him to be a widower with several children. “He suffers from a diseased moral character…snuffing about to smell out moral corruption and , as soon as they have found some, put the person concerned into some lucrative position where they can keep their eye on him” (Ibsen 15). His character is one who is trying to gain back his good title which he lost when he, himself, forged a signature. In trying to do so, he is blackmailing Nora Helmer.
Robert Walton, who Victor is telling his story to, starts off the novel Frankenstein. He is a captain traveling to the North Pole. Walton is an explorer, chasing after non-possessed knowledge. “I may there discover the wondrous power…I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited…” (Shelley 2). As he goes on his voyage, he begins to feel lonely and sad, seeking for a companion that is able to relate and communicate to. Soon enough, he finds Victor, his new companion, at the brink of death and nurses him back to health.
Victor Frankenstein is the main character in Frankenstein. He is a Swiss man who grew up in Geneva reading many alchemists’ works. He then gains interest about modern science and the “secret of life”. “From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation” (Shelley 36). With this new knowledge, he then creates a monster.
The monster is Victor Frankenstein’s creation. He was made from old body parts and enters life with super-human features, such as being strong and having a good endurance. “Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine; my joints more supple” (Shelley 86). Along with the monster’s strength, height, and endurance, it gained knowledge and learned the ability to speak and read. He turns compassionate, gentle, and kind nature but soon seeks revenge against Victor.
From the novels A Doll’s House and Frankenstein, the characters from both novels are similar but yet different at the same time. Krogstad and the monster are both characters living a hard life where no one is willing to accept them. “If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the bank as if I were fighting for my life” (Ibsen 21). Nils Krogstad was wanting to keep his position in the bank because he felt that it was the only way people will accept and re-give him the respect that he has lost. Also, it was his way of making money for his kids that he also wanted to gain the respect back from. “Here then I retreated, and lay down happy to have found a shelter, however miserable, from the inclemency of the season, and still more from the barbarity of man” (Shelley 94). The monster that Victor created was completely shunned from people. His grotesque features made people scared and disdain him, making him feel sad and misunderstood. Both characters are also seeking for revenge. “But let me tell you this-if I lose my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me” (Ibsen 24). Krogstad said this to Nora Helmer when he found out that he was losing his job position. He was trying to get Nora to persuade her husband, Torvald Helmer, to keep him in Torvald’s business. In doing so, Krogstad blackmailed Nora. “Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness forever…revenge remains-revenge” (Shelley 155). Victor Frankenstein made a deal with the monster that he would make a companion for it so the monster wouldn’t be alone. After Victor decided to destroy the next monster he was going to create, the monster became angry and warned Victor that he will get his revenge for Victor breaking the deal. In the endings of the novels, both characters change and are now different from one another. “I have never had such an amazing piece of good fortune in my life!” (Ibsen 55). Krogstad life, in the end, is now brightening up. He found a new companion, which was Nora’s childhood friend, and was able to support his family again. In time, he knew he will once again be able to be respected. “Farewell! I leave you, and in you the last of humankind whom these eyes will ever behold…I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt” (Shelley 210). After Victor has passed away, the monster did not feel a need to live anymore. He regretted what he has done and to demolish the regrets and wounds he felt, he vanished in the darkness and distance. These two characters started off with similar feelings of sadness and wants of being accepted. Going towards the end of the novels, both changed into two different people, Krogstad being happy with the life that he will soon be getting and the monster having regrets then disappearing into the sea.
A Doll’s House and Frankenstein have similar themes. Themes are explored in a literary and are the main ideas of the works. Within the two novels, these themes are discovered: secrecy, role of women, and misleading of appearances. In both of the books, it contains secrecy that separates one from another. Victor felt that science’s secrets must not be shared with others out in the world. He began created a monster in secrecy, which came alive, and planned to destroy it without anyone knowing either. In doing so, he isolates himself from the outside world. Nora Helmer kept her secret of forging her father’s signature from her husband. To Nora, the secret was more meant to protect her husband than lie to him, hoping that they would remain together. The theme of a women’s role is noticed in both novels. Women in Frankenstein have the roles of the innocent, loving, and sacrificial mother. “This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity, a passion-…”(Shelley 20). In this quote, Victor is describing her mother’s passion of helping the poor. The sacrificial role held by women is shown in A Doll’s House. After her father passed, Nora gives herself up to Torvald, her husband. Her abandonment of her family once her secret has been found out is another sacrifice that she had taken. Appearances are misleading and are clearly shown as the novel is unraveled. The monster in Frankenstein is first seen as only a ugly creature with super-human traits and no heart. Later in the novel, the monster is able to speak, read, and feel just like a regular human. This is shocking both to the narrator and reader. A Doll’s House, appearances of the characters are mislead to fit with them, then reveals the reality of the play’s characters and situations.
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