A Dolls House, written by Henrik Ibsen is a three-act play, which talks about a family life, where Torvald Helmer is the husband to Nora, who is the housewife. The major characters within this play are Torvald Helmer, who is a bank manager, Nora Helmer, the wife to Torvald, Dr. Rank, a close friend to Torvald, Mrs. Linde, Nora’s friend since childhood, and Nils Krogstad, a bank clerk. The play also constitutes of the minor characters like Anne-Marrie, nurse, Ivar, Bob, and Emmy, little children to Helmer, Helene, the maid, and the delivery boy. The play is dated back to the 19th century, during the Victorian Era, bringing in various contrasting differences in the primary women characters, Nora and Linde, not within the characters themselves but more of the roles these characters play in their marriages (Rosita, 2015 45). This paper analyzes these two characters, Nora and Linde, bringing in their similarities and differences and also looking into other comparisons within the play. The paper starts by discussing how the two characters compare, then looks into how they contrast, and finally comes up with other comparisons found within the play.
Similarities Between Nora and Mrs. Linde
Though minimal, Nora and Linde have shown some form of likeness especially in the roles they play in their marriages.
Both Have Unselfish Personalities
Both Nora and Linde made some significant sacrifices to the people they care about or love. Mrs. Linde exhibited some loyalty to her family when she was in the position of refusing the marriage proposal by her husband. However, in consideration of the adverse condition of her mother, the brothers, and the fact that Krogstad in having money, she got married for the family’s well-being. Nora also cares for her husband very much, she saves his life, which again tells us how women gave first priorities to their families, through sacrifices. The character of Nora comes out so apparent to us through the actions of Mrs. Linde. She not only opened her mouth to talk about saving the life f her husband but did it full of pride. She claims to have been involved in the raising of the money by borrowing, maybe she is full of useful feelings towards change. These actions tell us that in this society the top priority in the family and being loyal to the loved ones is highly recommended.
Both Are Liars
The two women showed some instances of lies, with Mrs. Linde telling lies to her husband just the same way as Nora. An example of lies by Nora is about the macaroons which she smuggles into the house, consumed secretly, and lied to Torvald not to have eaten anything (Ibsen, 2015 26). Moral lies again concerning the macaroons during the time she laid blame on Mrs. Linde for coming with pastries to the house and giving them to her. This minor dishonesty is set in the larger and darker lies of Nora on falsification and the money borrowed throughout the whole story (Barry, 2013 11). Mrs. Linde’s lies came in when Nora asked her why she married her husband if she truly did not love her. However, Mrs. Linde stated that she was supposed to look after her ill mother and younger brothers, and thus she had no choice. Furthermore, she explains to Nora how her husband was rich, but the business fell apart after his death, leaving her with nothing. This has placed her into a struggling position the last three years, but it was over since her mother had passed away and her brothers working.
Difference Between Nora and Mrs. Linde
On reading this play, there are many contrast styles within the characters of Mrs. Linde and Nora. These contrasting differences as stated before are shown in the character’s marriages and not the characters themselves. These two women exhibit different relationships with their husbands.
The Two Have Different Levels of Experience in Life
The two charters contrast in the way they are approaching life to earn a living. Mrs. Linde is seen to have substantial experience, having struggled to work to earn a living in positions that are subsidiary to men. She takes this life positively, though she longs for someone to be with or look after. Nora, however, as she later on discovered, has spent the better part of her life attended to as a doll, given protection from adverse conditions, but was good at controlling men feeding their desires about female vulnerability. The mistake that has been paid for substantially by Torvald is the same as that of Nora, but due to the requirement of the society for the women to be governed by their husband, the mistake will be linked to the failure of the husband to take control over his wife (Brockett et al. 2016 154).
The Two Characters Are Affected Differently by the Society With One Being Weak and the Other Strong
The feminine weakness within the society calls for men to take responsibility for the lawful and financial relationships of the women. This has seen the two Nora and Mrs. Linde being affected differently by the society they belong to. Near is not in the position of borrowing money without permission from her husband. Furthermore, a husband was in the position of carrying out anything on the property that belonged to his wife before marriage (Parker, 2003 para. 6). The incapability to come into an agreement made Nora become artificially weak. The habitual weakness in this form can put a woman to have the belief that her weakness comes from the personality of her gender, making her forget that this weakness is caused by the society itself (Barry, 2013 9). Kristine Linde, however, does not come to terms with the stereotype of the Victorian woman being taken control of by the patriarchal society. Mrs. Linde comes into play like an old friend to Nora for some years. Being a widow makes her free from many of the limits of society towards women. She is in the position of living on her own, coming up with her personal decisions, and can come into contracts. She has come out to be strong as compared to Nora’s weakness, and we can note that it is due to her widow nature that Mrs. Linde has been permitted to work away from her home (Parker, 2003 par. 5). The strength of Mrs. Linde is a slight indication of the message by Ibsen at the ending of the play that a woman is in a position of becoming strong (Barry, 2013 12).
Mrs. Linde Has Come Out to Be Practical in Contrast to Fanciful Behavior by Nora
This difference was acknowledged by Mrs. Linde, and she asked Nora, Nora, Nora are you not sensible yet? (Ibsen, 2015 19). Through this question, Linde was trying to suggest that Nora can fight her feminine imagination and develop some strength and sensibility. To achieve this, Nora should stop depending on being coquette of getting what she needs, but as an alternative getting the personal self-confidence to at last become who she is, or come out to see what she is personal. It is only eventually at the end of the play where we see Nora becoming sensible and strong on accepting the possibility (Barry, 2013 12).
Mrs. Linde Is a Practical Woman as Compared to Noras Impracticality
Women within Victorian society are always busy with needlework. Activities done by Nora are full of embroidery, needlework, and crocheting (Ibsen, 2015 12). Mrs. Linde, who comes out as an independent woman put most of her time on practical knitting, which made Torvald condemn her by stating that activities such as knitting will never be anything but remains ugly (Ibsen, 2015 93). This comment on the relative visuals of stitching and weaving showcases Torvalds and originally, the weakness of Nora for depending on the plane things, exhibiting appropriate image, other than making the essence of individuals character (Barry, 2013 13).
Difference Between Nora and Mrs. Linde in the Level of Maturity
Mrs. Linde had studied with Nora in the same school, but she is more mature as compared to Nora. Mrs. Linde has got to be mature through supporting her sick mother and brothers and later providing support to herself as a widow. Nora, however, has her childish behavior coming out as part of the role expected of a Victorian wife. The experience that has made Mrs. Linde more mature has also provided her with a strength that supports the strength Nora at the end of the play (Barry, 2013 14).
Other Comparisons Between Nora and Mrs. Linde
Apart from the above comparisons between Nora and Mrs. Linde, others also come in within the play, especially when looking into the themes brought out within the play.
Appearance Compares With the Reality Within the Play
The lives of Helmer appear to be a marriage that is happy with two happy couples. However, the lies are hidden and hinder growth. Nora seems to be so sweet just like the songbird but looking into the real part of it; she is full of guilty due to forgery and the lies she has stated to her husband for a long time. Helmer comes out to be a husband full of love but turns against Nora when his reputation reaches the line. Mrs. Linde looks like an old woman full of bitterness but tries to assist Nora and Krogstad. Krogstad could appear to be the evil villain, but he just wants to maintain his responsibility of caring for his family and keep his job. Dr. Rank would be seen to be a best friend to Helmer, but when looking into the reality, he is actually in love with Nora. However, there have been critics that if now had the same feeling of love for Dr. Rank, then the scene simply serves to reveal the upbringing of Nora (Wicklund, 2016 216).
In his article, Eric Osterud states that Noras and Helmers’s lives come out more of acting, but there come other contrasts of appearance and reality, as seen in the masquerade party and Tarantella dance (Osterud, 2004 147). Masquerade shows being in the position of acting out a role that is different and Helmer and Nora are found to be more excited concerning the chance. Going to the party finally, It is the exit following the performance, with Helmer singling out and emphasizing. He converts it into a flash. The result of this flash becomes conditioned by a faster and abrupt disappearing act which is equal (Osterud, 2004 50). This is significant because eventually, Nora does the same when she brings their marriage to an end by the disappearing act by herself through the front door (Ibsen, 2015 118).
The two characters, Nora and Mrs. Linde, have come out alike and different through various occasions within the play. However, they have been shown to vary more as compared to the level of similarities. The variations in these two characters as seen have been more pronounced due to the roles they play in their marriages and relationships. The better part of the article is all about comparing the characters with their roles in society and how society has shaped each one of them. This has also seen the role of Victorian society contributing to the level at which the two characters differ from one another. It is, therefore, clear that Nora and Mrs. Linde is more different as compared to similarities.
Quotes Showing the Comparison of Nora and MS Linde
“Yes – some day, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as pretty as I am now. Don’t laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve.”
“To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it!”
Barry, Debbie. "Examining Gender in A Doll House." (2013).
Brockett, Oscar G., et al. The essential theater. Cengage Learning, 2016.
Henrik, Ibsen. A Dolls House. Xist Publishing, 2015.
Osterud, Erik. "Nora's watch: Time, space and image in Henrik Ibsen's a doll's house." Ibsen Studies 4.2 (2004): 147-175.
Parker B.D. Gender Issues in A Dolls House. 15 September. 2003. Retrieved from http://www.charminggeek.net/words/docs/ADollsHouse.pdf Work cited 22nd July 2016.
Rosita, Fatma. "HENRIK IBSEN’S DOLLS HOUSE: WOMANS FIGURE REPRESENTATION IN THE VICTORIAN ERA." Rainbow: Journal of Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies 4.1 (2015).
Wicklund, Beret. "Friendship versus love in Ibsen's dramas." Nordlit 34 (2015): 213-224.
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