A Doll’s House

by: Henrik Ibsen

Reputation

1

Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to know that one’s position is assured and that one has an ample income.

Torvald responds to Nora’s exclaiming how lovely their Christmas will be and how much their children will enjoy it. Rather than express how lucky they are to have each other and their family, Torvald equates joy with his new job and salary. His response reveals that he is more concerned with stable financial status than close bonds with his wife and children.

2

Being a lawyer is so uncertain, you know, especially if one isn’t prepared to touch any case that isn’t – well – quite nice. And of course Torvald’s been very firm about that – and I’m absolutely with him.

As Nora tells Mrs. Linde about Torvald’s new position at the bank, she explains the reason for his dissatisfaction in his previous job. Torvald was so concerned with his reputation that he refused to take on clients who didn’t meet his standards, even if that meant making less money. This detail shows that appearances and perceived respectability matter more to Torvald and Nora than anything.

3

But, my dear little Nora, there’s a considerable difference between your father and me. Your father was not a man of unassailable reputation. But I am. And I hope to remain so all my life.

Nora warns Torvald that he should let Krogstad keep his job or else Krogstad might slander Torvald in the newspapers, which is what happened to Nora’s father. In response, Torvald explains that there is nothing in his history that can damage his reputation. He, of course, does not yet know about the blackmail Krogstad is using against Nora in the form of her forged paperwork. While Torvald bases his reputation on how he appears to others, he is often insensitive to the important concerns of those close to him .