I need an outline of how Nora, in A Doll's House,  fits the criteria of a narcissistic personality.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Doll's House contains many conflicting personalities.  Misunderstanding and lack of communication are the order of the day. Torvald would best fit the personality of a narcissist due to his lack of insight and his inflexible nature, even when his behavior is uncaring and even inappropriate after the best efforts of others, especially Nora, his wife.

However, Nora does have her own narcissistic tendencies and her ultimate decision to leave her family to "find" herself has been described as narcissistic as it is putting her own self-development above that of her family. The fact that we understand, sympathize and may even agree with her decision is not relevant in analysing her choices.

A typical narcissist of the type that Nora may represent  

  1. is unwilling or unable to consider the opinions of others
  2. is not aware that there is a "bigger picture"
  3. is self-centered
  4. has an unrealistic view of love and "perfect "love
  5. takes advantage of others to further his/her own needs
  6. needs "special" attention

There are many more indicators that reveal the typical narcissist and Nora, fortunately, does not fulfil them. The actions that may render Nora something of a narcissist stem from her view of the world. She thinks others should and in fact DO understand her motives - even if they are illegal. She is angry with Dr Rant when he declares that he loves her because now she cannot ask him for help. His troubles are not her first concern. When he is dying and sends a letter, it is largely ignored due to (seemingly) more pressing household problems!  

When Nora learns of her friend, Mrs Linde's best efforts to provide for her family and her obvious sacrifices, Nora wants Kristine to know that she too has made sacrifices - a secret she would have kept to herself were it not for narcissistic tendencies and the need to have her friend recognize Nora's own "suffering" over the years.

Unable to understand why Krogstad is trying to protect his own standing - putting his needs above hers when hers are so much more noble is another of Nora's failings in her self-absorbed world. A little more compassion would have probably enabled her and Krogstad to arrange a far more mutually beneficial arrangement.  

The ultimate act of "self" that Nora exhibits and for which she is most criticized is her leaving at the end. Her actions are so resolute and revolve around her needs. Considering that she sacrificed so much for her family in the past and the fact that Torvald - regardless of his reasons (which are undoubtedly narcissistic) - begs her to reconsider, is what renders Nora a narcissist. How could any mother leave her children?