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After reading “A Doll’s House” by Hendrik Ibsen. I can conclude that there is both a parallel and a contrast structure in the characters of Mrs. Linde and Nora.
A contrasting difference in the characters, are shown not in the characters themselves, but the role that they play in their marriages. These women have different relationships with their husbands. Torvald and Nora have a relationship where there is no equality. To Torvald Nora is an object. Hence, she plays the submissive role in a society where the lady plays the passive role. Her most important obligation is to please Torvald, making her role similar to a slave. He too considers himself superior to her.
As for Kristine and Krogstad their relationship is much more open to us. It is apparent that if Kristine and Krogstad were to engage in an argument, it is more likely that that they would come to a compromise.
A strong sign that Mrs. Linde brings us a better understanding of Nora is their parallel in characters.
Both are willing to sacrifice themselves for values dear to their lives. This act of aiding significant loved ones gives us a better understanding of Nora. It gives us an image of who the character Nora really is.
Mrs. Linde shows her loyalty to her family when she did not think that she “had the right” to refuse her husband’s marriage proposal. After taking into consideration her sick mother, her brothers, and Krogstad having money. She married for the welfare of her family.
Which means that in this society family is top priority. To the women is this era, loyalty to their loved ones is highly expected.
Then, we have Nora, who on the same token saves her husband (Torvald’s) life, which portrays again, the trend of women sacrificing for their families. They both
(Mrs. Linde and Nora) express their feelings of pride and fulfillment in helping their significant others by sacrificing themselves. Nora’s character is made more obvious to us by Mrs. Linde’s actions. Not only did Nora open her mouth about saving her husband‘s life, but she did it with the utmost pride. Claiming to have raised all the money herself she soaks in her self-importance. In Act 1, Nora seems to thrive on the pride she gets from borrowing the money. I suppose that she is feeling useful for a change.
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It seems also, that Mrs. Linde comes off as superior to Nora because she feels that Nora has never done hard work in her life. Mrs. Linde is referring to the sacrifice she has made. She makes a remark about Nora still being a child. As if to say that she was inexperienced. She is half-right. At the end of the play Nora agrees that is it “true”, She does not know much about the world and that if she is to learn, then she will have to experience that for herself. This remark tells us that Nora is capable of choosing herself over her husband. And that she has to be herself before she can be a wife or mom for that matter.
Hendrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House. Lee A. Jacobus, Ed. The Compact Benford Introduction to Drama 2nd ed. Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1996) 86.