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Characters and summary of plot - A Dollís House

Characters in A Dollís House

Torvald Helmer, a lawyer
Nora, his wife
Dr. Rank
Mrs. Kristine Linde
Nils Krogstad
Anne Marie, the nursemaid
Helene, the maid
The Helmersí three children
A porter

Source: The Oxford Ibsen, Volume V, Oxford University Press 1961

Summary of plot

Nora Helmer is apparently happily married to Torvald, a lawyer who is about to take over the post of director of the Joint Stock Bank. They have three small children. Nora has a secret to keep, however. Early in their marriage Torvald became seriously ill, and the doctors advised a stay in a more southerly climate. Nora had to get hold of the money for the journey in secrecy and so borrowed it from Krogstad, a lawyer who had been a fellow-student of Torvald`s. As security for the loan she forged her dying father`s signature. Ever since then she has saved some of the housekeeping money in order to pay back the loan with interest, and she has taken on small jobs to earn some money herself. When the play opens, an old friend of Nora`s, Mrs. Linde, has arrived in town to look for work, and Nora sees to it that Torvald gives her a post at the bank. But this means that Krogstad is dismissed from his post at the bank, and in desperation he goes to Nora and threatens to tell Torvald about the loan and the forgery unless he is allowed to keep his post. Nora is in despair but at the same time convinced that in his love for her, Torvald will sacrifice himself and take full responsibility for what she has done, if he learns the truth. Nora considers asking Dr. Rank, an old friend of the family, for the money, but when he declares his love for her, she finds it impossible to ask him. Torvald finds out what has happened, and reacts with rage and revulsion, without any sign of being willing to accept responsibility for the forgery. Mrs. Linde, who was in love with Krogstad in the past, gets him to change his mind and withdraw his threats. But Nora has begun to understand that her marriage is not what she thought it was, and in the course of a dramatic conversation with Torvald she decides that her most important and only task is to go out into the world on her own to "bring herself up", and she leaves her husband and children.

Source: Merete Morken Andersen, IbsenhŚndboken, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1995