In Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, how do the characters Nora and Mrs. Linde compare? How are they similar; how are they different?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his play The Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen created the characters of Nora and her close friend Mrs. Linde with many differences and many similarities.

One of the most significant differences between Nora and Mrs. Linde is their situation in life. Nora has always been well-cared for, first by her father and then by her husband. Nora lives in a comfortable home. The author makes a point of noting that it is not a richly furnished home, but it is very comfortable. While, on the other hand, Mrs. Linde has suffered a great deal for the past ten years. She has been a widow for the past three years and was left nothing by her husband, neither money nor children. Mrs. Linde has had to spend the past ten years working to care for her mother and her younger brothers. She describes her life as one long working day with no rest.

Another significant difference is that Nora is portrayed as very young and naive. Nora realizes that she is unfamiliar with the ways of the world and that she is a very uneducated person. In contrast, Mrs. Linde has aged a great deal through her hard work and suffering.

Nora feels, however, that there are similarities between herself and her friend. Nora also feels that she has struggled in the world to earn money. When Torvald and Nora first married, they struggled financially. Torvald had to work very hard to earn enough money and drove his health into the ground. In order to save his life, Nora felt obliged to forge her father's signature on a loan. Nora has been working hard behind Torvald's back to earn money to repay the loan. She works late into the night copying, sewing, and knitting to earn money. Similarly to Mrs. Linde, Nora often feels quite exhausted.

While both women have had to struggle in the world, it is safe to say that Mrs. Linde is the one who is more experienced with the world and the one who is more experienced with hard labor and suffering.

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A Doll's House

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