In A Doll's House do the characters have any redeeming qualities?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In focusing on the salient flaws of the characters of A Doll's House, Ibsen illustrates his style as "the father of modern drama". The uniqueness of finding more weaknesses than strengths in the characters is what makes this play unique, especially by the standards of its time. This being said we, as the audience, must infer what are the redeeming traits of each character.

Nora's strengths can be observed in her actions. The aim to please, the sacrifice that she makes for Torvald, and the fact that she is kind and amiable to everybody make her a likable character, despite of her many quirks. This shows that Nora is essentially a good woman; she simply has allowed herself to be taken by the wave of pre-requisites expected of her gender in a society that seldom understands her.

Torvald, another sample of his time and social status, merely acts the way in which he is also expected to behave. However, it is an undeniable fact that he does love Nora; not once do we see Nora doubting his admiration, nor his feelings for her. He is not a womanizer, and although he is unfair with Nora, he is by no means unloving.

The secondary characters are not developed well-enough for the audience to distinguish any redeeming qualities, except for superficial ones. This is done on purpose to keep the focus on Nora, who is not only the main character but also the biggest victim within the plot.  If we were to award some redeeming qualities to Mrs.Linde, however, we could say that she seems loyal to Nora and is essentially someone who needs love in her life, like Krogstad, and like Dr. Rank as well.

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