One of the most significant themes of the text has to do with women's dependence on men. Further, inequality among men and women actually produces profoundly negative effects on everyone, not just women. If Nora were able to take out a loan without a man's signature, she would not have...
One of the most significant themes of the text has to do with women's dependence on men. Further, inequality among men and women actually produces profoundly negative effects on everyone, not just women. If Nora were able to take out a loan without a man's signature, she would not have felt compelled to forge her father's. Were she allowed to act on her own, legally, she would not have resorted to illegal means. She knows her husband would never consent to borrow the money from Krogstad, and she wants to protect her father from the truth of Torvald's illness and their financial situation, because he himself was so ill, and so Nora does what she feels she must. She asks,
Do you mean to tell me that a daughter has no right to spare her dying father trouble and anxiety?—that a wife has no right to save her husband's life?
This situation ends up hurting her, certainly, but also eventually upsets her husband so much that he acts cruelly and irrevocably damages their relationship. Had Nora been her husband's legal equal, she would not have committed a crime.
Later, once Krogstad has nullified his contract with Nora and Torvald is restored to good will toward her, he cannot imagine that she thinks about serious things. In response to his claim, she says,
You have never understood me.—I have had great injustice done me, Torvald; first by father, and then by you . . . While I was at home with father, he used to tell me all his opinions, and I held the same opinions. If I had others I said nothing about them, because he wouldn't have liked it. He used to call me his doll-child, and played with me as I played with my dolls.
She feels that she has been treated as a doll, first by her father and then by her husband. She has been deprived of learning how to think or develop or feel as a person, and she has, rather, been controlled and played with by the men in her life. This deprivation leads her to forge her father's signature, creating an untenable situation in her marriage (for which her husband blames her rather than the repressive system that deprives her of legal means of helping him), which results in the dissolution of the Helmer family. Everyone suffers.