In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, how does Nora tease Krogstad at one point in the play?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the second act, Nora teases Krogstad with suicide. Krogstad can only successfully blackmail Helmer into allowing him to keep his position at the bank if Nora remains present to serve as a threat to Helmer's reputation. Nora's fraudulent actions certainly do serve as a threat to both her and her husband's reputations. However, if Nora were to commit suicide, it would become evident to the public that Nora was the truly guilty party, which would save Helmer's reputation. Therefore, if Nora were to commit suicide, Krogstad's attempt at blackmail would become useless. Krogstad is aware that Nora herself is key to the blackmail, which is why we see him warning her in the second act that running away from home or doing even worse would be absolutely useless, as we see in his lines, "If you had it in your mind to run away from your home-- ... Or even something worse--" (II). However, at first Nora confesses to not having enough courage to take drastic measures. But when Krogstad next relays his plans to become Helmer's right-hand man at the bank and then soon manager in Helmer's place, Nora exclaims, "That's a thing you will never see!," which leads Krogstad to ask, "Do you mean that you will--?" to which Nora replies, "I have courage enough for it now" (III). In other words, Nora is exclaiming to Krogstad that she now indeed has enough courage to commit suicide in order to spare her husband's reputation and to save him from being blackmailed.

Therefore, in this act, it can be said that Nora is teasing Krogstad with the threat of committing suicide, which will thwart his plans for blackmail.

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A Doll's House

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