“You haven’t known much trouble or hardship in your own life” says Ms. Linde to Nora in their first conversation. Ms. Linde who is part of the sub-plot is used as a convenient device for exposition but also to introduce idea’s in the play, being that she is an “old” friend of Nora’s. A doll’s house is a tragic play written in the form of a well-made play by Ibsen who wants to introduce the idea of social control and expectations in society. Ibsen uses Krogstad and Ms. Linde as tools for convenience and flow to the play, although it has been criticized that they are unnecessary and therefore weaken the overall plot of the tragedy. In this essay I will be investigating the involvement of Krogstad and Mrs. Linde and their overall impact on the play.
Classical tragedies abide to the three unities of time, space and action. These unities are believed to insure that the plot remains focused upon by the audience and therefore adding to the effect of the tragedy. Critics argue that Krogstad and Ms. Linde are an unnecessary part of the play with a seemingly unclear role in the drama. Their presence disrupts the audience attention away from Trovald and Nora, which in turn reduces the dramatic effect of the tragedy. In the first scene of the play Ms. Linde enters and asks Nora for a position in the bank. Within their conversation Nora is explaining her current position and the debt that she has to pay. The information that Nora explains is important, however Ms. Linde’s purpose in this scene served only to be as a convenient tool to express Nora’s current situation. Ms. Linde in this conversation simply asks questions which Nora continues to answer giving the audience further understanding of the plot. Ms. Linde would ponder upon important topics, such as when she asks “And since then have you never told your secret to your husband?” this question and the idea of keeping secrets from your husband is a taboo in the 19th century. Nora continues to talk about herself and the only notable and important issue about Ms. Linde is the fact that she is in need of a job in Torvalds’s bank. Nora then persuades Trovald to give Ms. Linde the job however not knowing that this job was originally Krogstad’s job; another character that is argued in being a weakness in the plot. “Then it is because you haven’t the will; but I have the means to compel you” says Krogstad while he begins to blackmail Nora into getting his job back. Krogstad is seen originally as a villainous figure, this is seen in his intention, the fashion in which the other characters describe him and also simply the language that Ibsen has imbued on him at the beginning of the drama. Again, Krogstad’s role is seen as unnecessary being that his only impact on the main plot is the envelope he sent to Trovald.
In the drama it is true that Ms. Linde’s and Krogstad’s role in the drama in not altogether necessary but there are positive characteristics that they add to the play which was up to Ibsen to decide whether the positives outweighed the negatives. Through the critics argument that they weaken the plot it is obvious that they believe that the negative characteristics outweigh the positives. Sub-characters and Sub-plots have a general purpose in all plays and drama’s. They add a certain balance in certain situations when perhaps there is too much intensity and seriousness. This can be seen in Antigone and the guard who reported to Creon using humorous language to balance out the intensity of the play. This is seen in Ms. Linde and Krogstad’s as they are in certain circumstances the “opposites” of Trovald and Nora adding further balance to the play. Nora who is characterized as still young and childish and Trovald who is characterized as dominant and overpowering are both opposites of the wise and independent Ms. Linde and the caring and passionate Mr. Krogstad. Ms. Linde shows her undermining judgment and superiority to Nora through her language, for example when she says “My Dear! Small households cares and that sort of thing!—you are a child, Nora”. Ms. Linde’s independence and hardships of life has obviously led her to become wiser. In different perspectives it can be noted that at the end of the play Trovald and Nora set out to become similar to Krogstad and Ms. Linde. In this perspective Ms. Linde and Krogstad would then act as foreshadowing and provide an example of the ideal couple, to Ibsen’s opinion. Referring to earlier, it was mentioned that these sub-characters also act as devices of convenience to write and create flow in the drama. They may be unnecessary but the plot runs a lot smoother with these characters because they cause explanations and infer questions on Nora providing certain important information to the audience. Krogstad also creates a link for important information as he accuses Nora “Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look here; your father has dated his signature the 2nd of October.” These characters also create more layers over the plot making it more complicated which I think matches the role of a “well-made play”. Since life in itself is very complicated and with the additional characters and detail it makes the play more complex in turn making it more realistic.
Critics claim that Krogstad and Ms. Linde weaken the play but it is obvious that they also add strength to other areas of the play. As mentioned earlier, it is important to conclude whether the weaknesses or the strength outweigh one another. It is true that including Krogstad and Ms. Linde act as a violation to the three unities but however is it really correct to claim that a play should be written under certain rules? Ibsen has written this play in order to take a step away from classical tragedies and introduce a new style of play; therefore I believe that including Krogstad and Ms. Linde was simply part of the step that Ibsen took. The critics argue in belief of their own ideals and how they believe a tragedy should be. This makes it impossible to establish whether they are correct because there is no concrete understanding of how a tragedy has to be. Ibsen did add Krogstad and Ms. Linde but he also used their role in the drama to further emphasize the attention on Nora and Trovald. This is seen when they asks multiple questions and advise Nora or Trovald but also they foreshadow events and add emphasis on certain subjects like the chorus in Antigone.
Nora and Krogstad add certain irrelevant details to the play and are technically unnecessary. Ibsen has chosen to add them because he believes there benefits out weights these weakness’s; benefits such as balance and convenience. Whether Ibsen was correct or whether the critics are correct is a matter of opinion, making no answer correct. It is also important to incorporate Ibsen’s goal however, was his goal to complete the perfect tragedy? As we assumed or was it simply to create a complex play everyone would be astounded by?