This essay argues that in Ibsen’s A Doll House, both Nora and her husband, Torvald Helmer, exhibit a “religion of Torvald” characterized by their respective devotion to Torvald himself. However, while Torvald’s devotion to himself is characterized by self‐love and self-centeredness, Nora’s “religion of Torvald” is based on her expectation that Torvald will exhibit the Christlike office of bearing Nora’s sins by proclaiming himself guilty of her crime of forgery, thus rendering her blameless. After Torvald shatters Nora’s expectations by reacting with abuse and cowardice to the news of Nora’s forgery and Krogstad’s consequent blackmail, Nora loses her previous faith in Torvald and instead exhibits a preoccupation with her own self that, ironically enough, imitates the self‐love of the “religion of Torvald” that Torvald has practiced all along.
Urban, David V., "Nora’s ironic longing for christlike love Self‐ sacrifice, self‐love, and the “religion of torvald” in ibsen’s a doll house" (2020). University Faculty Publications. 181.