In some editions of A Doll’s House,
the speech prompts refer to the character of Torvald Helmer as “Torvald;”
in others, they refer to him as “Helmer.” Similarly, in some editions,
Mrs. Linde’s first name is spelled “Christine” rather than “Kristine.”
protagonist of the play and the wife of Torvald Helmer. Nora initially
seems like a playful, naïve child who lacks knowledge of the world
outside her home. She does have some worldly experience, however,
and the small acts of rebellion in which she engages indicate that
she is not as innocent or happy as she appears. She comes to see
her position in her marriage with increasing clarity and finds the
strength to free herself from her oppressive situation.
in-depth analysis of Nora.
husband. Torvald delights in his new position at the bank, just
as he delights in his position of authority as a husband. He treats
Nora like a child, in a manner that is both kind and patronizing.
He does not view Nora as an equal but rather as a plaything or doll to
be teased and admired. In general, Torvald is overly concerned with
his place and status in society, and he allows his emotions to be
swayed heavily by the prospect of society’s respect and the fear
of society’s scorn.
in-depth analysis of Torvald Helmer.
lawyer who went to school with Torvald and holds a subordinate position
at Torvald’s bank. Krogstad’s character is contradictory: though
his bad deeds seem to stem from a desire to protect his children
from scorn, he is perfectly willing to use unethical tactics to
achieve his goals. His willingness to allow Nora to suffer is despicable,
but his claims to feel sympathy for her and the hard circumstances
of his own life compel us to sympathize with him to some degree.
in-depth analysis of Krogstad.
childhood friend. Kristine Linde is a practical, down-to-earth woman,
and her sensible worldview highlights Nora’s somewhat childlike
outlook on life. Mrs. Linde’s account of her life of poverty underscores the
privileged nature of the life that Nora leads. Also, we learn that
Mrs. Linde took responsibility for her sick parent, whereas Nora
abandoned her father when he was ill.
best friend. Dr. Rank stands out as the one character in the play
who is by and large unconcerned with what others think of him. He
is also notable for his stoic acceptance of his fate. Unlike Torvald
and Nora, Dr. Rank admits to the diseased nature (literally, in
his case) of his life. For the most part, he avoids talking to Torvald
about his imminent death out of respect for Torvald’s distaste for
Bob, Emmy, and Ivar
Nora and Torvald’s three small children. In her
brief interaction with her children, Nora shows herself to be a
loving mother. When she later refuses to spend time with her children
because she fears she may morally corrupt them, Nora acts on her belief
that the quality of parenting strongly influences a child’s development.
Helmers’ nanny. Though Ibsen doesn’t fully develop her character,
Anne-Marie seems to be a kindly woman who has genuine affection
for Nora. She had to give up her own daughter in order to take the
nursing job offered by Nora’s father. Thus, she shares with Nora
and Mrs. Linde the act of sacrificing her own happiness out of economic
Nora’s father is dead before the action of the play begins, the
characters refer to him throughout the play. Though she clearly
loves and admires her father, Nora also comes to blame him for contributing to
her subservient position in life.