Extended Character Analysis
Kristine Linde, referred to as Mrs. Linde, is Nora’s friend from school. Prior to the events of A Doll’s House, the two had not seen each other in ten years. Mrs. Linde visits Nora in the hopes that Nora might ask Torvald to give Mrs. Linde a job at the bank that he manages. Mrs. Linde serves as a moral guide for Nora throughout the play, taking on an almost motherly role. She scolds Nora for going behind Torvald’s back to obtain the loan, and she discourages Nora’s flirtations with Dr. Rank. It is ultimately Mrs. Linde’s intervention that forces Nora to be honest with Torvald about the loan.
Mrs. Linde serves as a foil for Nora. Whereas Nora has lived a privileged, sheltered life, Mrs. Linde has had to face many hardships. As a childless widow, she has had to work and provide for herself in a world where employment opportunities for women were limited. Unlike Nora, who has a dutiful husband and children, Mrs. Linde has had to navigate life alone. Furthermore, while Nora maintained the illusion of a happy, loving marriage, Mrs. Linde readily admits to never having loved her husband. Hers was a marriage of necessity, brought on by the need to provide for her mother and siblings. Mrs. Linde is the living embodiment of Nora’s assertion that women constantly sacrifice themselves for their loved ones.
Ironically, while the privileged Nora wants to be independent, Mrs. Linde wants someone to care for. Mrs. Linde’s reunion with Krogstad sees her moving in the opposite direction of Nora. Readers often view Mrs. Linde’s desire to be a caretaker as regressive and oppositional to the feminist themes of Nora’s story. However, the key difference is choice. Just as Nora asserts her independent right to pursue her own happiness, so too does Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde has already proven herself to be independent and self-sufficient. She has learned the lessons that Nora hopes to learn. Now, after receiving such a harsh education about the world, she chooses to enter into her life with Krogstad as an equal. Mrs. Linde is not a decorative “little squirrel” to be coddled and spoiled. Instead, she is a fellow survivor, combining the wreckage of her life with the wreckage of Krogstad’s in the hopes of improving both of their circumstances.