Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Nora, the “doll-wife” of Torvald Helmer. Seeking always to charm her husband, Nora is his “singing lark,” his pretty “little squirrel,” and his “little spendthrift.” She seems to be a spendthrift because secretly she is paying off a debt she incurred to finance a year in Italy for the sake of Torvald’s health. To get the money, she had forged her dying father’s name to a bond at the bank. Krogstad, a bookkeeper at the bank where Torvald has recently been appointed manager, is aware that the bond was signed after the death of Nora’s father. He puts pressure on Nora to persuade Torvald to promote him. Frightened, Nora agrees to help him. When her friend Christine Linde, a widow and formerly Krogstad’s sweetheart, also asks for help, Nora easily persuades Torvald to give Christine an appointment at the bank. The position, unfortunately, is Krogstad’s. Torvald, finding Krogstad’s presumption unbearable, plans to discharge him. While Christine helps Nora prepare a costume for a fancy dress ball in which she will dance the tarantella, Krogstad writes a letter, following his dismissal, telling Torvald of Nora’s forgery. Nora desperately keeps Torvald from the mailbox until after the dance. She decides to kill herself so that all will know that she alone is guilty and not Torvald. After the dance, Torvald reads the letter and tells Nora in anger that she is a criminal and can no longer be his wife, although she may continue to live in his house to keep up appearances. When Krogstad, softened by Christine’s promise to marry him and care for his motherless children, returns the bond, Torvald destroys it and is willing to take back his little singing bird. Nora, realizing the shallow basis of his love for her as a “doll-wife,” leaves Torvald to find her own personality away from him. She leaves him with the...
(The entire section is 759 words.)
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