Essay on the Growth of Nora and Kristina Linde in Ibsen's A Doll's House

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The Growth of Nora and Kristina Linde in A Doll's House

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, is a play that was written ahead of its time. In this play Ibsen tackles prevailing social norms by presenting two strong-willed women. Both Kristina and Nora chose the men they married by an intellectual rather than an emotional process: Kristina gave up the man she loved (Nils Krogstad) to provide economic security for her mother and her two younger brothers; Nora married Torvald Helmer at a time when he could have prosecuted her father for financial activities which were wrong if not simply illegal.1 Whether she married him out of thankfulness or to influence him during the time of decision is not clear, but one doubts that this timing
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Nora, meanwhile is still so unaware of her own situation that she can remark to Dr. Rank, her real soul-mate, "You see, there are some people that one loves, and others that one would rather be with." She remarks that being with Torvald Helmer was like being with her father, and by the end of the play she knows that she does not love him, nor he her. There is no doubt that Nora loved Torvald once--for having risked everything to save her. It was her concern for his health that caused her to take out the original loan and forge her father's signature. Even as the play opens, however, she can see that physical attraction will not hold him much longer. She has begun to dream of a silly old gentleman who will leave her a lot of money in his will. Indeed, she almost asks Dr. Rank for the money to pay off the loan. She finds Dr. Rank good company, sexually attractive, and most important, a true friend to whom she can open her soul with few reservations. She can even curse in his presence and eat candy. Kristina sees the danger that lies in their association. Other women in Nora's situation could easily become the doctor's mistress--Nora suggests to Kristina that some "admirer" might give her presents--but Nora was still feeling a deep obligation to Torvald for having saved her father, and she was, after all, his wife. Would not many readers conclude that if Helmer were to die rather that the doctor, that Act 4 would present Nora
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