Krogstad has approached Nora and asked her to speak with Torvald on his behalf. Torvald will be the new manager at the bank, and Krogstad is eager to keep his job there. As he was the one to secretly loan Nora money years ago, he is in a position to...
Krogstad has approached Nora and asked her to speak with Torvald on his behalf. Torvald will be the new manager at the bank, and Krogstad is eager to keep his job there. As he was the one to secretly loan Nora money years ago, he is in a position to blackmail her now. Torvald sees Krogstad leaving their home, and he immediately guesses why Krogstad might have paid a visit to his wife. Torvald reprimands Nora for cooperating with such a man, "conceal[ing]" from Torvald the fact that Krogstad had been there at all and that he had asked Nora to help him. He accuses her of lying and says that his
little songbird must never do that again. A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with—no false notes!
He effectively silences her with his admonishing until, a few minutes later, her mention of Krogstad again upsets Torvald. As though to win back Torvald's favor, Nora flatters him, saying,
There is no one has such good taste as you [...]. Torvald, couldn't you take me in hand and decide what I shall go as, and what sort of a dress I shall wear?
Such a statement strokes his ego, confirming for him how much his wife absolutely needs and depends on him and how strapping and strong and powerful he is. He can feel important and necessary when he and Nora perform their proper roles as husband and wife. Nora obviously knows this, even saying that she "can't get along a bit without [his] help." Nora is not stupid, and she can manipulate her husband without his awareness of it. Her ability to deceive and manipulate him shows that she isn't just a childlike simpleton, but rather that she is an intelligent woman who has been infantilized by a society that treats all women in this way.