How does Nora's character, form Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," change through the play?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," Nora Helmer is happy. She seems oblivious to the real world and the challenges adults are required to face. She revels in Torvald's treatment of her (as a "silly girl"). Life for Nora seems to revolve around her stash of macaroons and her seemingly perfect life. 

As the play progresses, readers learn of her true understanding of very complex ideas. Nora proves to be educated in finances, and she proves to understand the real world with excruciating realism. Forced to take out a loan to help out with the family's financial state, Nora goes behind Torvald's back to insure financial security. As the loan comes due, Nora faces a new challenge, blackmail. 

By the end of the play, readers come to see Nora change dramatically. That said, engaged readers may question if Nora really changes at all. Realistically, one could question if Nora really underwent any real change, or if she simply covered up who she really was.  

Read the study guide:
A Doll's House

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