A Doll's House: Nora's Character

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“The Development of Nora’s Character”
From the first moments of her entrance, the audience perceives Nora Helmer as a spoiled, childish young woman. She is revealed as a loving woman who wants to spoil her family with more Christmas gifts that she may be able to afford. She also continues to eat macaroons in secret, deliberately against her husband’s wishes, which shows a child’s stubbornness and determination. Throughout Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, Nora Helmer grows from what the audience perceives as a flighty, immature child to a level-headed, mature woman.

After the entrance of Mrs. Linde, Nora’s childhood friend, the audience learns that Nora has borrowed money – something that women of that time were not permitted to do. Not only did she borrow money, but she borrowed it through an unscrupulous banker that Torvald works with, Krogstad. Although her intentions were admirable, Nora’s partaking in an illegal practice showed more immaturity on her part. Having to lie to Torvald about what she was doing with the money he gave her only further proves that she was not capable of handling such a serious transaction.

During Nora’s talks with Torvald over Krogstad, Torvald says, “Almost everyone who goes bad early in life has a mother who’s a chronic liar” (Ibsen 1527). This news causes Nora to panic and shut down all contact with her three children. While a statement such as that does warrant some kind of reaction, Nora’s extreme actions show a blind confidence in her husband’s words. She believes that everything he says must be gospel. If she had more knowledge of being a mother, she would have known that she could challenge his bold words.

Although many people are able to see goodness in others no matter how slight it may be, Nora blindly assumes that because she has three small children, Krogstad will not reveal their transaction to Torvald or the authorities. At the beginning of Act II, she says, “Nothing terrible could happen. It’s impossible. Why, I...
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