How would you describe the concept of "closure"on the Third Act of A Doll's House.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, there are three developing, interwoven plots moving within the play.

Of the two secondary plots, the one involving Kristine Linde and Krogstad seem, ironically, to be the healthiest. Even though both of these characters have suffered, and Krogstad has been wounded by the experience, they see value not only in their shared experience of suffering at the hands of an unsympathetic society, but recognize kindred spirits in each other. They are both stronger for the situations which have brought them together, and believe their combined fortitude will help them survive in the unfriendly world in which they live. They take each other at face value without judgment and agree to invest themselves in a relationship that has meaning and mutual respect.

In the relationship between Dr. Rank, Nora and Torvald, we learn that Dr. Rank is in love with Nora, but she wants no part of it, though she teases him in a most inappropriate way throughout the play.

I believe we (as readers) tend to make excuses for Nora because she has been treated by a child so much of her life. However, I question this when we see the intelligent and strong-willed woman she reveals herself to be by the end of the play.

In terms of Torvald and Dr. Rank, I find myself continually disappointed in Nora's husband, who is not only inept as a husband, it seems, but also as a friend: perhaps simply as a human being. In Dr. Rank's case, these men are supposed to be good friends, who visit almost daily. Behind Rank's back, Torvald is like petulant child, not wanting to waste his time with the man, while Rank seems to genuinely care for Torvald. However, when Dr. Rank says goodbye to face alone his impending death, Torvald never lifts a finger to go to him. Although Rank as requested no one come to him, a true friend would at least try. Torvald has a weak character, and I see little resolution to this plot line.

The most central of these story lines exists between Nora and Helmer. When Torvald realizes what his wife has done, regardless of the fact that she broke the law to save his life, all he can think about is how it might poorly affect his reputation. Torvald is short-sighted and shallow.  Nora, on the other hand, finally sees her husband for the weak and selfish man he is. It is at this point that she comes into her own, and decides to leave Torvald, though he begs her to stay.

If she stayed, I doubt things would change: Torvald is a product of his male-dominated society. I wonder where Nora's strength comes from, as she has been victimized throughout the story first by her father, then by her husband, and and finally by Krogstad. In a short time, her eyes are opened and she is committed to her new purpose to find out where she fits in, in the world. She also leaves her children behind. On one level, perhaps there is a certain kind of resolution, that benefits Nora, but nothing that indicates a change in Torvald, and there is a sense of sadness for children who will be raised by someone other than their mother.


M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Doll's House closure can be seen in the character of Nora when she finally accepts what is her real role in the family and in Torvald's life. She then decides to turn her back on life as she knew it, and never return, leaving behind her husband and children. In this case, closure was quite radical and in my opinion very risky to her as a woman, and moreover as a woman of her society.

In turn, this affects Torvald's life, who now will be a man much talked about since in those days people knew everybody's business much like it occurs in small towns. Therefore, a man with a wife who has left the family runs the same risk of shame. However, Torvald deserved a bit of that, in my opinion.

Closure touched Dr. Rank in the worst ways, as he was about to die of a congenital disease inherited by his father's excesses. To me, this was the worst and most tragic of them all because I feel Dr. Rank could have saved Nora and may have given her the shelter she would desperately need once she leaves Torvald.

It was not as interesting to see closure in the lives of Linde and Krogstaad, however.  They met again after many years, then fell for each other (or declared the need for each other's company) and suddenly life was ok for them. Krostad quit being bad, and Linde now  has a potential husband. That was a clear and cut closure but it was not much sensible nor realistic in comparison to the others. 

In all, closure is quite harsh for the main characters and not as harsh for the secondary characters.