Landscape: Quandt and Isolation
language becomes a source of division. Nora’s separation from her husband is
highlighted by his mantra-like repeated phrase, “if she drowns, I won't be able to save
her.” That it is repeated makes it sound like a prayer. But just what outcome he could be
praying for is picked up in the third monologue.
In the final monologue of the play, the listener hears Nora's thoughts as she is
swimming in the sea. The house and shore have been depicted as lonely, hard
landscapes. Nora describes the sea as a much warmer, nurturing ’scape. She compares it
to “amniotic fluid”, and feels she is “part of the sea.” Again, the womb is depicted as
isolation from others, but a safe, warm and nurturing isolation.
Contrasting this nurturing and female depiction of the sea, classic Freudian
imagery is dredged up when Nora names the lighthouse the “eternal male element.” She
puts a darker spin on her husband's thought as she wonders, “can they see me? Are they
desperately afraid I might drown? Do they secretly wish it?” Nora is also aware of how
the others see her, asking, “What of Nora? She is the hard one, the impenetrable one.”
The collection of words surrounding Nora (“hard”, “impenetrable”, “sharp”, “crusted”)
and her phallic description of the lighthouse leads me to believe that Quandt was setting
up Nora as a Freudian phallic character who is, “reckless, resolute, self-assured, and
narcissistic, excessively vain and proud... afraid or incapable of close love” (Stevenson).
The language Quandt uses to describe Nora is too specific to be coincidental, and thus
Freudian imagery emerges like some barnacle-encrusted Kraken to dominate the
characterization of Nora.
Nora's inability to discuss her problems and pain is shared by the other two
characters in the play. Rather than just tell her husband what hurts, she “codifies her pain