In A Doll's House, how does the relationship between Krogstad and Mrs. Linde serve to emphasize certain qualitites in the Helmers' marriage?

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Let's begin with Nora and Torvald. Here is what we witness throughout the play, which is backed by the fact that their relationship is over by the end of the play.

Nora and Torvald are not equals in the relationship. They are not a couple working together, but a...

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Let's begin with Nora and Torvald. Here is what we witness throughout the play, which is backed by the fact that their relationship is over by the end of the play.

Nora and Torvald are not equals in the relationship. They are not a couple working together, but a couple where the man overpowers the woman.

On top of the lack of equity, there is also a lack of fairness in treatment. Torvald uses Nora as his wife, as the mother of his children, as an entertainer, and as his personal "doll" of sorts. He is patronizing and, in many occasions, condescending. In turn, Nora puts Torvald on a pedestal and would never be disrespectful to him.

There is nothing honest about Torvald and Nora's marriage. She acts for him, hides situations from him, goes behind his back even to eat a macaroon, and basically has to live a parallel life that meets his needs—rather than her real life.

Did you notice how cruel Torvald turned toward Nora when he saw that his ego, his reputation was potentially put at risk due to Nora's secret? The words that Torvald said to Nora seemed to come from a place where they have been brewing. It seems like Torvald had those words reserved for when the situation merited it. The cruel words he used were in no way justified. It symbolizes how much control Torvald had over Nora. He could make her or break her on the spot.

In contrast, Krogstad and Kristine Linde show a drastically different side of how relationships can work.

There is equality in their relationship. Both parties admit their wrongdoings in life. Both parents admit to be "shipwrecks." Both parties admit to be vulnerable and in need of help. Both parties agree to complement each other and helping each other out. Krogstad and Kristine treat each other fairly, taking into consideration their strengths and weaknesses.

There are no secrets between Linde and Krogstad. If anything, they are entirely open about their pasts and their present, which is why they have a chance at a future together.

Further, there is zero cruelty in Kristine and Krogstad's relationship. The man does not try to overpower the woman with insults or hurtful statements. Linde is really straightforward with Krogstad, and vice versa.

It is ironic that the picture-perfect Helmers, who have every resource available to make each other happy, are the easiest to break apart, whereas the two "shipwrecks" who lack money, jobs, status, and class distinctions found one another and are ready to become a strong couple.

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Christine Linde's relationship with Krogstad stands in stark contrast to Nora's unequal, oppressive relationship with her husband, Torvald. In Act Three, Mrs. Linde meets with Krogstad to discuss the real reason why she returned to town, which is to renew her relationship with him. Unlike Nora's submissive position to her husband, Mrs. Linde has leverage and authority over Krogstad, who does not have a job, a loving wife, or a positive reputation. In contrast, Mrs. Linde has an impeccable reputation and a job at the Joint Stock Bank, thanks to Nora and Torvald. She is also straightforward with Krogstad during their private meeting and boldly addresses their situation, which contrasts Nora's deceit and subterfuge used to maintain her superficial relationship with Torvald.

Mrs. Linde also approaches Krogstad as an equal by admitting that she too is a "shipwrecked" person and suggests that they both cling to each other for support. Unlike Torvald, who views Nora as his possession, Krogstad demonstrates respect and admiration for Mrs. Linde. Krogstad's love is portrayed as genuine and sincere, which greatly contrasts Torvald's feelings for Nora. Also, Mrs. Linde reveals her desire to occupy the roles of mother and wife, which contrasts Nora's remarkable decision to neglect her traditional duties in order to find herself and live independently. Overall, aspects of Mrs. Linde and Krogstad's relationship emphasize the negative qualities of Nora and Torvald's superficial, unequal marriage while simultaneously portraying Ibsen's idea of a genuine relationship.

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Krogstad and Mrs. Linde come together under peculiar circumstances in A Doll's House. Importantly, Mrs. Linde holds a position of power in relation to Krogstad when she invites him to meet at the Helmer house in Act III. She now holds the job which once belonged to Krogstad and she knows everything about his treatment of Nora, his loan to her and the blackmail he has attempted. 

Krogstad, on the other hand, is in a powerless position. Jobless and stripped of his honor and reputation, Krogstad has nothing to offer his children and no prospects for improving his situation. 

Mrs. Linde, after losing her husband, wants to be needed again and to have someone to take care of. Krogstad and his children fit her desires and she makes an offer to Krogstad. In their conversation Mrs. Linde makes her motives clear. 

Mrs. Linde's position of power over Krogstad and her clarity of purpose are both in contrast to Nora's relationship to Torvald. 

Keeping secrets, breaking his rules, and feeling diminished by Torvald, Nora only speaks her mind when it is too late. There is no clarity in her relations with Torvald. Subterfuge and manipulation are her main tools when dealing with her husband - a stark difference from the way Mrs. Linde openly deals with Krogstad. 

Nora resorts to manipulation because she has no real power in the her relationship with Torvald. 

She is viewed as an object, a toy, a child, but never an equal.

 

 

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