There are many comic sections in the play—one might argue that Nora’s “songbird” and “squirrel” acts, as well as her early flirtatious conversations with her husband, are especially humorous. Still, like many modern productions, A Doll’s House seems to fit the classical definition of neither comedy nor tragedy. Unusually for a traditional comedy, at the end there is a divorce, not a marriage, and the play implies that Dr. Rank could be dead as the final curtain falls. But this is not a traditional tragedy either, for the ending of A Doll’s House has no solid conclusion. The ending notably is left wide open: there is no brutal event, no catharsis, just ambiguity. This is a play that defies boundaries.
Nora’s character is comparable to the evolution of feminism itself. She subjected herself to the influence of her husband for a long time before she got the idea that maybe she could do something on her own. She decides that she can try to branch out from him and become important to him. As would have been an obstacle to her in looking for a loan, feminists needed to work through systems approved by men. Both found ways around the system, and for a while were proud of their endeavors. When their beautiful fruits began to rot before them both, the feminists and Nora reached out for the safety net of the masculine and found that it would not hold them. They could not have a place in a society thus structured by the masculine and had to break away. Nora left her husband and all of his control over her life to find her own place in the world, and in France the feminists broke away from even the masculine language structure. Only in this complete break were Nora and the Feminists able to become something real and stand on their own mixed among the works of men in the world.
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