What is the denotative and connotative meaning of this quote from A Doll's House?
NORA : but go on and try. It'll turn out the worse for you, because then m husband will see what a crook you are, and then you'll never be able to hold your job.
Here she's talking to KROGSTAD in ACT I..
Afraid that he will lose his position in the bank because Torvald disapproves of his moral character (Krogstad was once caught forging), he appeals to Nora to help him keep his position.
Nora is suggesting the Krogstad is a "crook" because he is blackmailing her. Krogstad has loaned Nora money, which she has been steadily repaying, and he announces that he will expose Nora's secret if she does not convince Torvald to let him keep his job.
On the surface then, denotatively, Nora is accusing Krogstad of being a crook in his attempt to blackmail Nora. However, on another level, we can see the irony of the situation. Nora has forged her father's signature on the loan document. This is the same crime over which Krogstad lost his reputation. He also was accused of forgery.
This fact alone is ironic but is not the only bit of irony in the scene. Nora is poised to be exposed for the same crime as Krogstad and she is accusing him of being a crook.
She is a liar and a criminal accusing another person of being a criminal.
Nora defends her actions by saying that she was only acting out of love for her husband; trying to save him by taking the loan. As true as this may be, it does not change the fact that Nora is also a criminal. Also, like Krogstad, she uses excuses to deny wrong-doing, which becomes yet another layer of irony when Nora speaks with her husband about Krogstad.
Torvald denigrates Krogstad not only for his crime but also for his denial.
Krogstad is a forger who did not openly confess his crime, which, according to Torvald, makes him a moral coward guilty of lies and pretence.