How has Nora's attitude changed at the end of A Doll's House Act III?How has Nora's attitude changed at the end of A Doll's House Act III? What actions and lines of dialogue changed your mind?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning, Nora is Torvald's prized possession. She does tricks just to please him. He calls her nicknames that are insulting. He calls her scattered brain and squander bird, meaning she is clueless and wastes money:

On the surface, Nora Helmer appears to be the ideal wife her husband desires. Torvald sees a woman who is under his control; he defines her every behavior and establishes rules that govern everything from what she eats to what she buys.

Nora seems content to play the games Torvald insists she plays. She sings and dances just to keep him happy:

Nora is the "doll" wife of Torvald. She is sensitive, sensible, and completely unaware of her own worth until the last act of the play. She initially appears flighty and excitable. Nora is most concerned with charming her husband and being the perfect wife.

Nora does not even realize that she is not happy. If she does, she is good at keeping up a facade. She and Torvald have a play house. They do not sit down and truly communicate. Torvald has no idea the stress Nora is under because she borrowed money to save his life. 

When the truth comes out, Nora realizes that Torvald does not appreciate the woman she is. He does not appreciate her business skills to borrow money to save his life. Torvald is only concerned with his own reputation. When Nora realizes how ungrateful Torvald is, she changes. She no longer desires to be with him. She realizes he has taken her love for granted. She has no choice but to walk out the door. She desires to find out who she really is as a woman with her own intellect. She is tired of playing games. She leaves Torvald in search of real happiness. 

ltiffany eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the play, Nora is content to live and act the way that Torvald (her husband) sees her.  By the end of the play, she realizes that she is not happy and has not been true to herself.  Her attitude is now that she needs to discover who she is.  Before she was content to devote her entire life to her husband and children, but now she feels that she owes as much to herself and her own happiness.

Her attitude in the beginning can be found in Act 1, where she tells Mrs. Linde that all she wants is to be free of her debt to she can "spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it."

In the end, her attitude is shown by saying at the end of Act III,

"I have been performing tricks for you, Torvald. That’s how I’ve survived. You wanted it like that. You and Papa have done me a great wrong. It’s because of you I’ve made nothing of my life."

Read the study guide:
A Doll's House

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