Mrs. Linde represents the variety of ways that women can live fulfilling lives, independent of their husbands. Mrs. Linde acts as a foil to Nora, providing a serious contrast to Nora’s frivolous personality and highlighting the spoiled life Nora leads. Mrs. Linde, like the “hundreds of thousands” of women that Nora points out to Torvald, led a self-sacrificing life in order to help her loved ones, first turning down Krogstad’s proposal in order to marry a wealthier man and help her ailing mother and younger brothers, then working long hours once her husband’s finances failed. By working so much, Mrs. Linde learned how to become a self-sufficient woman, something of an anomaly in her time, causing genteel society like Torvald to find her “boring.”
Because of the hardships she endured for much of her life, Mrs. Linde describes herself as becoming “bitter,” and since she is “obliged to be always on the lookout for chances” to survive, she calls herself “selfish.” Yet her actions say otherwise, and, according to her own philosophy, “Deeds you must believe in.” When Nora describes how Torvald has just been promoted to bank manager, Mrs. Linde confesses that her first thought was how she might land a job through this connection. Yet Mrs. Linde uses the eventual job offer to save Krogstad, the man she once truly loved and never forgot. The job offer also places Mrs. Linde in the interesting position of being both the breadwinner of her future family and a motherly figure for Krogstad’s children. Her days are filled with work to keep her mind occupied while also enabling her to provide for others, the two things she craves above all. Her reunion with Krogstad and her insistence that Torvald reads Krogstad’s letter show that she truly understands the honesty and respect necessary for the “real” wedlock that Nora describes at the end of the play.