In A Doll's House, Nora is the main character. Nora is a house wife with three young children. She is married to Torvald Helmer. Torvald treats Nora as a child. He does not value Nora's intellect. He thinks she is merely his prized possession.
Nora plays along with Torvald's game. She pretends to be his doll who lives in Torvald's dollhouse. Nora keeps up a facade. She is pretending to be happy with the way Torvald acts toward her. Nora sings and dances and puts on a show for Torvald. She really tries hard to please him, even at the expense of her own self worth.
In the beginning of the story, Nora is stressed about a loan she has taken out behind Torvald's back. Seven years ago, Torvald was very sick. The doctors confided in Nora that he needed to move South to a warmer climate. Behind Torvald's back, Nora borrowed money from a man named Krogstad. In the 1800s, women could not borrow money without their husband's approval. Privately, Nora had borrowed a loan to save her sick husband's life. Behind his back, she had been saving and skimping in order to pay the loan back without Torvald learning the truth.
Out of love, Nora borrowed money to save her husband's life. All these years, she has been keeping the loan a secret from Torvald. Torvald is the type of man who would divorce Nora for compromising his reputation.
When Krogstad reveals to Torvald the truth about the loan, Torvald is furious. He screams at Nora and commands her to go to her room. He yells at her, expressing that she has ruined his reputation for when people find out what Nora has done, he will be a laughing stock. Instead of being grateful for saving his life, Torvald tells Nora she is not fit to raise his children.
Nora finally gets the courage to stand up to Torvald. After she tells torvald that she is not happy, she walks out the door. She leaves Torvald with the intentions of divorcing him. Finally, Nora gains her independence. After being controlled for so long by a husband who did not respect her as his equal, Nora finds the courage to strike out on her own to find her own identity. Nora is no longer satisfied just being Torvald's play house doll. Nora had proved that she was a competent business woman by borrowing the loan and paying it back on her own, without her husband's approval or help. Instead of honoring his wife with appreciation for her honorable yet stressful sacrifice, Torvald scolded her as if she were a child. He was concerned only with his precious reputation. He only worried about what other people would think of him. His concern was that his trophy wife had committed an illegal act. She had borrowed money without her husband's approval.
When Nora realized that Torvald did not appreciate her help in saving his life, she realized he did not truly love her as much as he loved himself. For this reason, she left her unhappy marriage. At a time when woman were only house wives who were dependent upon men for survival, Nora bravely stepped out to find her own identity, leaving behind her home, her husband and her children. She was tired of playing house, and she no longer desired to be Torvald's doll. Bravo Nora!