In A Doll's House, compare Nora’s and Kristine’s lives since marriage. Who is better off?

In A Dolls House, Kristine has fared better than Nora since their respective marriages. This appears not to be true, since Kristine is a widow who has been left with nothing after a loveless marriage. However, Kristine is able to be honest and form a new relationship with Krogstad, whereas all Nora's apparent happiness is destroyed because it is based on lies.

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In act 1 of A Doll's House, Nora receives a visit from her old friend Kristine, who has changed so much that Nora finds it hard to recognize her. They have not seen each other for eight years, and Kristine, still a fairly young woman, looks old because of the adversity she has endured. Her husband is now dead, having left her with nothing after years trapped in a loveless marriage.

At this point in the play, it seems clear that Nora is better off than Kristine. She has a happy family, with a husband who loves her, and an idyllic life which is only improving as Torvald rises in the world. In one important respect, however, Kristine is better off than Nora: her life is not based on secrets and lies.

In superficial and material terms, Nora's life deteriorates over the course of the play. She goes from being the pampered wife of a successful man to a woman who is alone in the world, facing an uncertain future. However, she recognizes that it is worth this change in circumstances to be able to face the truth. Her life at the beginning of the play was a sham, and she was fundamentally worse off than Kristine, who had endured hardship but was not deluded. Kristine's insistence on being honest, by contrast, allows her to create a relationship with Krogstad which is based on a firm foundation.

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