Essay on the Growth of Nora and Kristina Linde in Ibsen's A Doll's House
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The Growth of Nora and Kristina Linde in A Doll's House
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, is a play that was written ahead of its time. In this play Ibsen tackles prevailing social norms by presenting two strong-willed women. Both Kristina and Nora chose the men they married by an intellectual rather than an emotional process: Kristina gave up the man she loved (Nils Krogstad) to provide economic security for her mother and her two younger brothers; Nora married Torvald Helmer at a time when he could have prosecuted her father for financial activities which were wrong if not simply illegal.1 Whether she married him out of thankfulness or to influence him during the time of decision is not clear, but one doubts that this timing was mere coincidence; if Nora married Torvald Helmer to save her father, we have reason to doubt that she was ever as empty-headed a "doll" as she claimed to be.
Neither woman knew how to convey her thoughts and feelings to the man she loved: When Kristina broke off with Nils Krogstad, she believed she would spare him grief by ending the relationship ruthlessly and, necessarily, crushing the love he bore her. She was badly mistaken. In making him believe that she had thrown him over for a richer man, she drove him into crime. When she comes to visit Nora she has been on her own for three years and learned how to support herself. Moreover, she has become so aware of her own motivations and such an understanding of his that she comes to the town with the deliberate intent of speaking with her now-widowed lover, and she is so beyond society's concept of what a woman should do and say in a courtship that she can begin the discussion of love and marriage with him. The audience can see that ha...
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2. The best description of this subplot and love story is Davies (1982:33-34).
Works Cited and Consulted:
Brandes, Georg. 1964. Henrik Ibsen. A Critical Study. New York: Benjamin Blom. Reprint of 1899 edition.
Clurman, Harold. 1977. Ibsen. New York: Macmillan.
Davies, H. Neville. 1982. "Not just a bang and a whimper: the inconclusiveness of Ibsen's A Doll's House." Critical Quarterly 24:33-34.
Heiberg, Hans. 1967. Ibsen. A Portrait of the Artist. Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami.
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House. Dover Thrift Edition, 1992
Koht, Halvdan. 1971. Life of Ibsen. New York: Benjamin Blom.
Meyer, Michael. 1971. Ibsen. A Biography. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company.
Northam, John. 1965. "Ibsen's Search for the Hero." Ibsen. A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.