To what degree do materialistic values determine human relationships and actions in A Doll's House?

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The values of the Victorian era were centered around both wealth and status (or reputation).  The reputation of being a good and honest man and woman were important to remaining eligible for employment and acceptance in society.

However, wealth was also needed to reinforce the reputation and to survive.  Nora borrows money because the Helmers do not have the wealth to travel to Italy.  Torvald refuses to borrow money because he does not want to be indebted to others.  Mrs. Linde marries because she needs money to care for her family.  Krogstad is determined to provide his kids with more wealth than he had, and so commits fraud and engages in lies in order to provide for them.

sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Materialism motivates many of the plot complications and indeed is the structure upholding Nora's middle class marriage, but the denouncement of the play rejects materialism:  when Nora slams the door, she embraces new values.  Her future is as uncertain as will be her status in society, but she is ready to risk that to be a more authentic human being that she can respect. So Nora does not just reject the patriarchy but also the system of materialism that the play implicitly shows to sustain that.