Ibsen's A Doll's House is a revolutionary classic. The play was integral in establishing realism as a theatrical form, and continues to be a provocative portrayal of a woman suffering in a man's world. Nora and Torvald Helmer have a seemingly traditional, settled nineteenth-century marriage. Torvald adores his wife, although he patronizes her and belittles her comprehension of the world. However, Nora has lived with a secret for several years. She forged her father’s signature in order to borrow money to take her husband to Italy for recuperation after an illness. Her husband, Torvald, is now in a senior position working at the bank and Nora has been paying off the loan in installments. Yet her secret is about to be revealed when Torvald threatens to fire Nils Krogstad, the man Nora borrowed the money from. Nora’s friend, Kristine Linde, offers to help Nora, revealing that she and Krogstad used to be in a relationship and she still loves him deeply. However, when Krogstad reveals Nora’s actions in a letter, Torvald dismisses her sacrifice, worrying only about his own reputation. Although Torvald forgives his wife when he discovers that Krogstad will not publicly reveal her indiscretion, Nora realizes that Torvald does not value or truly know her as an individual. Nora decides to leave her husband and her children in an attempt to discover herself.
A Doll's House guide sections