Over the course of the play, Mrs. Linde functions as something of a foil to Nora. While someone who has read the play understands that many parts of Nora's behavior are a facade, she still plays the part of the naive housewife well and approaches her position willingly for the sake of a comfortable life. She engages only in minor acts of rebellion, such as the eating of sweets that her husband, Torvald, has forbidden. As the play progresses, she becomes increasingly dissatisfied with her circumstances in the metaphorical "doll house" in which she feels she is being displayed.
Though this conflict is the primary focus of the play, it seems relatively minor in comparison to the obstacles overcome by Mrs. Linde. Compared to Nora, she is very grounded in reality and pragmatic. She has lived a life of incredibly modest means in comparison to Nora and has taken all of her suffering in stride. Mrs. Linde is a person who takes responsibility for herself and the people in her life, not wasting time blaming external forces when she very easily could. In a way, Mrs. Linde represents the independence and resoluteness to which Nora eventually aspires.
Ironically, Mrs. Linde feels a maternal instinct that is more prevalent than Nora's even though the latter is the one who actually has children. Her life is empty without having someone to take care of. This fact reveals that Mrs. Linde is the modern woman that she is because of circumstance and not choice.