What is Nora's attitude towards the porter, and what does this show about her character?

Nora gives the porter a large tip, which foreshadows her money problems we will learn about as the play continues. This shows Nora's manipulation, as she tries to hide the truth about the loan and instead wants to be viewed as someone not concerned with money so as not to raise suspicions.

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The porter only appears at the very opening of the play. Nora is the first to enter, "in high spirits" and holding "a number of parcels." The porter carries in the Christmas tree.

A porter is a person whose job it is to carry large loads such as luggage, like...

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The porter only appears at the very opening of the play. Nora is the first to enter, "in high spirits" and holding "a number of parcels." The porter carries in the Christmas tree.

A porter is a person whose job it is to carry large loads such as luggage, like you might see at an airport or hotel. This is important in our understanding of the interaction. He is of the working class, serving a housewife such as Nora. When he has done his task of carrying the tree inside, Nora asks how much money she needs to pay him.

PORTER:
Sixpence.

NORA:
There is a shilling. No, keep the change. [The PORTER thanks her, and goes out.]

Different translations of A Doll's House might use different monetary bills, but the point is this: Nora pays the porter more than she has to. We might say it is polite to give a tip to these kinds of workers, and so this interaction shows that Nora is kind and not a stuck-up rich lady. A sixpence is half a shilling, so Nora is doubling the payment, which is more than a polite 20% tip. This makes Nora appear to be extremely generous, and perhaps a little frivolous. She doesn't seem to be concerned with money.

Her husband, Torvald, also has this impression of her. A few lines after the porter leaves, he asks if she's been "wasting money again." Since we, the audience, have only just met Nora, we don't have a full history of her spending habits, and so the interaction with the porter is necessary for establishing this dynamic.

However, we eventually learn that this is a persona that Nora has put on. She wants Torvald to believe she has no monetary concerns, because the horrible truth is that she has been working in secret and saving bits of the housekeeping money to pay off an illegal loan she took to save Torvald's life. Torvald doesn't suspect this due to her interactions with people like the porter.

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