In the first act of "A Doll's house" what are your impressions of torvold, Christina,Nora and their marraige?

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janeyb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Torvald treats Nora as though she is subserviant to him, which he believes. Outwardly, it looks like she believes it to. She hides eating Macaroon's in front of Torvald because he would get mad at her, he thinks sweets will ruin her teeth. The dialogue is not based on an equal partnership, but rather is an example of a patriarch attempting to make his wife conform to his ideal of what a wife should be.
We find, however, that Nora is not the subserviant woman that she portrays herself to be. We learn that she borrowed money without her husband's consent. In fact, she secretly does all sorts of part-time work to keep up with the payments. Nora may play the part of a financially stupid woman, but she definintly is not. The marriage seems like an open book at the beginning of the act, but the audience comes to see that it is not. Mrs. Linde’s plight illustrates, a woman’s chief asset in that era was her ability to attract a financially secure suitor, not her ability to earn a living independent of a man. Mrs. Linde must resort to a loveless marriage with an older man in order to help support her mother and two younger brothers. Only after her husband’s death is it socially acceptable for Mrs. Linde to find positions of her own. And even then, the wage barely allows her to make ends meet.