What are the character motivations in the Play, A Doll's House? (Mainly Nora and her husband.) How Nora being the protagonist and Krogstad being the antagonist influence their motivations with...

What are the character motivations in the Play, A Doll's House?

(Mainly Nora and her husband.) How Nora being the protagonist and Krogstad being the antagonist influence their motivations with their life.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nora is motivated by her desire to be happy. Initially, it makes her happy to please her husband, keep a neat and attractive home, and raise her children; however, later, she realizes that these things never really did make her "happy" —rather, they made her feel "merry" for a short time. Later, after Torvald does not do the "wonderful thing" she expected he would after her past deception in securing a loan was revealed to him, she realizes that what will actually make her happy is to no longer feel as though she is only a doll: a plaything for either her father or her husband. She says,

Our house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child. And the children, in their turn, have been my dolls. I thought it fun when you played with me, just as the children did when I played with them. (II)

Nora learns that being independent and learning to know herself are what will make her happy, not staying with a person who now feels like "a strange man."

Torvald is motivated by his need to keep up appearances. Though he dislikes Mrs. Linde, he is kind to her face because he ought to be. He demands that Nora dress and dance a certain way to show her off at the costume party, and he doesn't care that she's very uncomfortable. In the end, he is more concerned about his own appearance and "honor" than he is about his wife's pain. He even asks her to continue to live with him as "brother and sister" in the house so that no one on the outside has to know about their falling out. This is his motivation throughout the play, and when Nora fully realizes it, she leaves him.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nora:  Nora's motivations stem from the fact that she wants to please her husband.  She wants to be the perfect wife. She is completely dependent on her husband, or so she thinks (until the end of the play).  She deceives her husband by taking out loans without his consent, lying to him, etc.  She doesn't realize her own strength until the end of the play when she announces she is leaving him.

Torvald (Nora's husband):  He is selfish and motivated by his appearance to the outside world.  He is concerned about propriety and doing the right thing in front of society.  He treats Nora as if she were a doll and a plaything or a little, trivial person in his life in many ways.  He is transparent and clueless that Nora is capable of making her own decisions in her life.

Krogstad: He is motivated by desperation:

He has also been disappointed in love and is bitter. His threats to Nora reflect his anger at being denied the opportunity to start over and his concerns about supporting his dependent children. Accordingly, he is not the unfeeling blackmailer he is presented as in the first act. Once he is reunited with his lost love, Mrs. Linde, he recants and attempts to rectify his earlier actions.

           

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A Doll's House

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