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An Analysis Of Act One Nora And Kristine Linde

1571 words - 7 pages

An Analysis of Act One Nora and Kristine Linde

Henrik Ibsen can be considered one the most key influential figures in the development and motivation of theatre throughout history. An “ardent advocate of selffreedom, self-emancipation, and self-control”¹ Ibsen used his plays as a medium to challenge his audience about the flaws in their society, using his characters to mirror it and show the need for change. A Doll’s House is one of the most significant, and arguably the first, examples of Ibsen’s modernism, the protagonist, Nora, journeys throughout the play to become the ‘New Woman’ torn between society’s traditional values and her “duty to [herself].”² Transformation is one of the most ...view middle of the document...

The text at first seems simple, the two have been separated for “nine…ten years”², a significant enough amount of time for them to have developed physically enough to appear different, however, this inability to recognise someone is mirrored in the final scenes of Act Three when Torvald finds Nora so unrecognisable due to the changes she has undergone over the last few days. Mrs Linde’s change has taken a much longer time and many tough experiences. NORA. Oh, what a thoughtless creature I am, sitting here chattering on like this! Dear, sweet Kristine, can you forgive me? MRA. LINDE. What do you mean, Nora? NORA [gently]. Poor Kristine, of course you’re a widow now. MRS. LINDE. Yes my husband died three years ago. NORA. Oh, I remember now. I read about it in the papers. Oh, Kristine, believe me I often thought at the time of writing to you. But I kept putting it off, something always seemed to crop up.² Again we see a reflection of Act Three Nora, not a widow through death but through choice. NORA. […] no children? MRS. LINDE. No. NORA. Absolutely nothing?
MRS. LINDE. Nothing at all…not even a broken heart to grieve over.² And with the loss of her husband Nora also gives up her children and motherhood and even realises that her marriage was also a loveless one, she was merely an object passed from Father to husband, “utterly alone.”² On the contrary, however, Mrs Linde finds herself entering into a relationship with Krogstad and becoming a mother to his children. Whilst this may seem hypocritical to Ibsen’s intended message the relationship between Mrs Linde and Krogstad is different. Mrs. Linde offers Krogstad not sacrifice, but alliance: a life of mutual support, a joining of forces in which individual need is not subordinated to social or sexual expectations, and where strength derives from channeling energy and work into a common enterprise. In a startling reversal of traditional roles, she proposes to him, not marriage in a doll’s house state of dependency, but a form of ‘‘samhuet’’: a ‘‘living together’’ in a reciprocity of equally balanced interests.¹ The equality and genuine care in their new relationship is what gives it hope that it be successful and happy in a way the Helmer’s was not. These passages of text are also key to characterising Nora as childish, naive and selfcentred, Ibsen himself calls her “a big, overgrown child”⁴. Nora’s full knowledge of Mrs Linde’s loss three years previous is evident; however, despite this she did not take the time to write to her “something always seemed to crop up.”² Now, when she does finally express her sympathies they appear more as a matter of polite courtesy rather than sincere compassion. To follow this up we see Nora inquire about their marriage and learn about the absence of children. “NORA. So utterly alone. How terribly sad that must be for you. I have three lovely children.”² Nora’s insensitivity in boasting of her own enviable position shows the audience her self-obsession, she does not...

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