What is self-sacrifice? It is to sacrifice everything you care about to go be who you actually are. The protagonist in A Doll’s House written by Henrik Ibsen, Nora Helmer, not only sacrifices herself, but also her family. Nora sacrifices the security and comfort of her home, while also giving up her social status. Nora also contemplates giving up her life for her family and friends to be better off. She also gives up her dignity and relationship with Torvald and the children.
Henrik Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House to express how a person needs to sacrifice yourself to be the person you want to be. For one to fully sacrifice themselves, a person gives up the comfort and security of their life. A Doll’s House, protagonist, Nora Helmer does exactly that, gives up her social status, husband and children to go and learn to live on her own. “…I am a thinking human being…” Nora is saying that she is her own person, and needs to discover who she wants to be, not the person she has been taught to be. “…I must think things over for myself and try to understand them.” Nora is also learning that she needs to have her own voice. She cannot do what everyone wants her to do.
As well as giving up the comfort of her home, Nora debates on taking her own life. To her this is the only way her husband, Torvald, will not be upset with her. When Krogstad threatens Nora that he will tell Torvald about the borrowed money and fake signature. Thus, Nora “…had thought of that?” That being her taking her own life, knowing that she has no other option. “Now I have the courage.” Nora at this point is saying that she is ready to go and disappear from the Earth. Nothing will scare her anymore, “You don’t frighten me.” Nothing is going to stop her now, she is going to do whatever she can to make sure everyone is better off. By Nora leaving Torvald, she gives up not only her social status but her dignity. Nora leaves everything behind to go find herself. “…Your duty to your husband and your children!” Torvald believes he owns Nora and can tell her what and when to do something.
Nora rebuts with saying that she has “duties to myself.” Nora needs to put herself first, rather than being everyone’s doll, and to grow a backbone. While giving up her dignity she is giving up her relationship with Torvald and her children. “I can’t spend the night in the house of a stranger.” Torvald is not the man she thought he was, therefore now he is a stranger. Nora refuses to even acknowledge that he wants to stay together and live together as brother and sister. Self-sacrifice is not just about the person themselves, but also those around them. A person has to give up those they love, their comfort, as well as dignity. Those who do not give up the privileges of having everything, are not who they really are. A person needs to give up everything to become the person they are underneath the façade.