In A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, what in Krogstad's first appearance on stage?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In the first scene of Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, we are given a few clues that Krogstad’s character is a menace.  When Krogstad first comes on stage, we see that his appearance makes Nora very uncomfortable.  In a strained whisper she asks why he has come to see her husband.  When Krogstad answers that it is only about his position at the bank, we see that Nora seems relieved.  All of this indicates that Nora and Krogstad share some sort of secret together and that Krogstad holds some sort of influence over her.  Plus, when Dr. Rank first speaks of Krogstad, he calls him “morally diseased” [Act I], which also helps to indicate that Krogstad is somehow a menace

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favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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When Krogstad first appears in the play, stage direction tells us that Mrs. Linde "starts, trembles, and turns to the window," as though the sight of him is somehow frightening or menacing in itself, so much so that she cannot bear to look at him.  Further, when Nora speaks to him, she does so "in a strained low voice," as though his presence is painful to her as well.  Once he leaves the room, Mrs. Linde remarks on his "greatly altered" appearance, and she and Nora discuss him for a moment before Nora suddenly feels as though the room is "burning up," and she shuts the door of the stove.  It seems like Krogstad's presence, and even conversation about him, has agitated her. 

When Dr. Rank comes in, he describes Krogstad as someone who "suffers from a diseased moral character," and, moments later, Nora pretends not to remember his name and becomes "absorbed in her thoughts."  Further, Krogstad apparently felt he had to see Torvald right away now that Torvald has acquired more power at the bank, and, when Torvald comes in, Nora asks, somewhat rudely, "have you got rid of him?" which certainly indicates that Krogstad's presence was unwanted.

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boatagainstcurrent | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Krogstad's intitial appearance at the Helmer household unsettles the company there and marks him as a menace. When he first appears at the door and greets Nora, Mrs. Kristine Linde starts, shakes, and turns away (as indicated in stage directions). This reaction foreshadows a history between Krogstad and Kristine that is revealed later in the play. Nora, too, reacts abnormally to Krogstad, as the stage directions indicate that she speaks to him in a forced, quiet voice, so as not to risk inviting Kristine into her scheme with him.

After Krogstad leaves the women to seek Torvald in his study, Kristine and Nora discuss Krogstad, and Kristine adds:

They say he's mixed up in a lot of questionable business.

Dr. Rank then enters and characterizes Krogstad as "morally sick" and as a "completely worthless creature."

Krogstad's profound impact on these three characters during his brief initial appearance sets the tone for a truly menacing character who threatens the Helmer household and Nora's treasured secrets.

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