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Plot and sub-plots in 'A Doll's House'

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Introduction

Plot and Sub-Plots The main plot of 'A Doll's House' traces the awakening of Nora from her unexamined life of domestic comfort. Ruled her whole life by either her father or her husband, Nora must question everything she believes in when her marriage is put to the test. Having borrowed money from a man of a dishonored name, Krogstad, by forging her father's signature, who had passed away three days before. It was with this money that she was able to pay for a trip to Italy to save her sick husband's life who was unaware of his condition and the loan, believing that the money came from Nora's father. Since then, she has had to contrive ways to pay back her loan, growing particularly concerned with money. When the play opens, it is Christmas Eve and the audience discovers that Torvald has just been promoted to manager of the bank, where he will receive a big raise. Nora is thrilled because she thinks that she will finally be able to pay off the loan and be rid of it. ...read more.

Middle

Nora is extremely moved by this comment and begins to consider the possibility of this episode transforming their marriage for the better as well as the possibility of suicide. Meanwhile, it is at this point that the first sub-plot is introduced between a flirty Nora and a very willing Dr. Rank. Learning that he is dying, she takes up an intimate conversation that culminates in him professing his love just before she is able to ask him for a favor with her problem about the loan. However, his words stop her and their talk is interrupted by the announcement of Krogstad. Nora asks Dr. Rank to leave and has Krogstad brought in. Her loaner tells her that he has had a change of heart and that, though he will keep the bond, he will not reveal her to the public. Instead, he wants to give Torvald a note explaining the matter so that Torvald will be pressed to help Krogstad re-establish himself. Nora protests Torvald's involvement, but Krogstad drops the letter in Torvald's letterbox anyway, much to Nora's horror. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rank's secret and, seeing that Torvald has collected his letters, resigns herself to committing suicide. As she is leaving, though, Torvald stops her. He has just read Krogstad's letter and is enraged by its contents, accusing Nora of ruining his life. He tells her that he plans on leaving her, contrary to his earlier claim that he would take on everything himself. During his outburst, he is interrupted by the maid bearing another note from Krogstad, which is addressed to Nora. Torvald reads it and becomes overjoyed Krogstad has had a change of heart and has sent back the bond. Torvald quickly tells Nora that it is all over, that he has forgiven her, and that her pathetic attempt to help him has only made her more attractive than ever. Nora, seeing Torvald's true character for the first time, sits her husband down to tell him that she is leaving him. After protestations from Torvald, she explains that he does not love her and, after tonight, she does not love him. She tells him that, given the suffocating life she has led until now, she owes it to herself to become fully independent and to explore her own character and the world for herself. ...read more.

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