According to Freytag, stories can generally be divided into five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. In A Doll's House, the exposition occurs in act 1, when we see Nora and Torvald's very conventional and apparently happy married life. The rising action includes Krogstad's attempt to blackmail Nora, Torvald's dismissal of Krogstad, and all the plot developments until Torvald finally reads Krogstad's letter and confronts Nora. The falling action occurs as Torvald, receiving the bond from Krogstad and realizing that he is no longer in danger, forgives Nora. The denouement is Nora's refusal to forgive Torvald and her decision to leave him.
In Sweat, the exposition shows Delia working hard and washing clothes. The rising action, which takes up most of the story, includes Sykes's abusive treatment of her and exploitation of her fear of snakes. The climax occurs when Delia finally tells Sykes how much she hates him, and he admits that he hates her too. The falling action includes their brief separation and Sykes's return to the house, and the denouement involves Sykes being bitten by the snake and Delia deciding not to help him.
Even from these summaries, it is clear that there are several points of comparison between A Doll's House and "Sweat." Each involves the problem of a dysfunctional marriage which is drastically solved in the denouement. Both involve a wife who turns out to be stronger than her apparently dominant husband. In both cases, the wife abandons the husband, whose weakness is finally revealed. The genteel atmosphere of Ibsen's play is a sharp contrast to the harshness of Delia's life in Sweat. It is partly for this reason that Torvald and Nora appear to have a harmonious, if rather stifling, marriage, whereas no one would mistake Delia and Sykes's marriage for a happy one. Sykes is also a much more malevolent character than Torvald, since Sykes intends to make Delia's life miserable and is unfaithful to her, whereas Torvald believes he is being a good husband and is only deceiving himself.