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A Doll's House - Plot and Subplot

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Introduction

A Doll's House - Plot and Subplot It is Christmas Eve when the play opens. Nora enters with gifts, casually pays a messenger, and hides her packet of macaroons away in a bag. Torvald leaves his study and engages his wife in a seemingly playful and affectionate conversation, before accusing her of frivolously spending money in a patronising way. Nora But Torvald - Helmer But nothing, my lovely, little Nora. Nora manipulates Torvald by provoking guilt, which he succumbs to, and hypocritically solves his problem by handing money out to his wife. Their conversation reveals that money is clearly an important issue to them, and that they have had problems with it in the past. They are interrupted by a door bell, and an old friend: Mrs Linde enters, who is not immediately recognised by Nora. Dr Rank, a good friend of the family also arrives, and goes straight into Torvald's study. Nora and Mrs Linde discuss the death of Mrs Linde's husband, and Nora is intrigued as to the lifestyle she leads without the constraints of family life. After promising that she will not 'be selfish' Nora contradicts herself, and informs her friend about her own current domestic and financial situation, and Torvald's recent position as bank manager. Mrs Linde grows more and more bitter as the conversation progresses, yet remains remarkably calm, suggesting she is used to dealing with this sort of personality. Nora tells her friend that Torvald became very ill and they both had to work hard so that they could travel to Italy to save him. For the first time, when Nora tells Mrs Linde how much money it cost to send them to Italy, she is specific about the amount of money "Four thousand eight hundred crowns - a lot - a lot of money", as opposed to when she speaks to her husband and uses the term "pots and pots". ...read more.

Middle

Again, she hides them before Torvald enters. Torvald, as Nora promised, offers Mrs Linde a job at the bank, and Dr Rank, Mrs Linde and Torvald all exit the stage, leaving Nora alone. The children enter, and Nora plays with them, and for the first time, Nora seems genuinely happy. Krogstad enters the room with no warning, and when Nora notices him, she screams "What? What do you want?" During their discussion, it becomes clear that Krogstad is the source of Nora's loan, and that he wants her to ensure he does not lose his position working for Torvald. He blackmails her, saying that he has evidence of her forgery, and will use it if she does not prevent her husband from firing him. When Krogstad leaves and Torvald returns, Nora attempts to convince her husband to give Krogstad a second chance, but fails. Torvald says it would be "impossible to work with him" and changes the subject. Act Two begins on the next day in the same room. It is Christmas day. Nora is "pacing the living room floor uneasily" and is reassuring herself that Krogstad will not reveal hers secret "He won't do it of course. Something like this, it can't happen. It's impossible." Nora speaks to the nanny about the idea of mother's walking out on their children, but stops herself before she thinks about it too seriously or realistically. Mrs Linde enters and helps Nora with her costume for a party the following night. Nora tells her of Dr Rank's illness, and after hearing of their close relationship, Mrs Linde begins to suspect that the doctor provided Nora with the money. Mrs Linde Nora, stop pretending. Don't you realise I've guessed who loaned you the money? Nora denies Dr Rank's involvement in the loan, but still will not tell Mrs Linde the truth. Torvald enters, interrupting their conversation. Nora tries again to get him to keep Krogstad at the bank, this time manipulating him more, using Helmer's neologisms. ...read more.

Conclusion

Helmer The child commands and I'll obey. Act Three begins in the same room, while the party goes on upstairs. Krogstad and Mrs Linde meet, and discuss a previous relationship that they were involved in. He questions her about her motives for leaving him for a wealthier man. She justifies her actions, and tells Krogstad how she now wants to be with him. He is elated. He offers to ask for the letter back from Torvald, yet Mrs Linde stops him and says she believes it will be good for both Nora and Torvald if they knew the truth. Krogstad leaves and Nora and Torvald enter. They say goodnight to Mrs Linde, and Torvald compliments Nora calling her "beautiful" and "lovely", yet Nora is reluctant to accept them. Dr Rank interrupts them, to the frustration of Torvald, and after a short discussion, he leaves. Torvald opens the letterbox and finds two cards from the doctor, and Nora tells her husband that they are announcing his death. Nora, determined, insists Torvald reads the letter from Krogstad, and while he reads it, Nora prepares to leave. Torvald is appalled, and insults her. Torvald Pathetic fool...a hypocrite! A Liar! Worse...a criminal! He says how she has ruined his happiness and future, yet when he receives the contract back from Krogstad a few moments later, his mood dramatically changes. Torvald attempts to revoke his verbal abuse, and sympathises with his wife, yet Nora cannot move on so easily. She tells him that she has been treated like a doll "I've become your doll-wife" and that their home was just a playroom. She announces that she is going to leave, to the surprise of Torvald, and he tries to convince her to stay. She deplores the concept that she is a "wife and a mother before everything else", by saying that she is a human being, and she is no longer afraid of the consequences. Nora leaves, and the sound of a slamming door is heard. Helen Fletcher ...read more.

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