Act One, Section 1
Nora Helmer arrives home with gifts on Christmas Eve and is teased by her husband, Torvald. Even though Torvald has landed a new position at the bank, he reminds Nora that they must still be cautious about spending money because his role will not start until the new year. As they recall events from the previous Christmas, Nora and Torvald are alerted by their maid that Dr. Rank and a lady caller have arrived.
Act One, Section 2
Nora initially does not recognize the caller as her childhood friend Mrs. Linde, who reveals that her husband has died recently and did not leave her with much money. Nora and Mrs. Linde share stories of their lives and their past financial difficulties, but Nora is so absorbed in Torvald’s new bank position that she has difficulty sympathizing with Mrs. Linde’s current plight. Nora resolves to talk to Torvald to help Mrs. Linde find a job.
Act One, Section 3
Nora tells Mrs. Linde that she secretly raised the funds necessary to travel to Italy for the sake of Torvald’s health but lied to Torvald by telling him that they received the money from Nora’s father. Krogstad, a man they find unfavorable, arrives and talks to Torvald about business, a subject Nora finds boring. Nora introduces Mrs. Linde to Torvald and asks him to give Mrs. Linde a job at the bank.
Act One, Section 4
While playing with her three children, Nora is startled to see Krogstad, who insinuates that the hiring of Mrs. Linde will lead to his dismissal at the bank. Krogstad threatens to reveal Nora’s secrets to Torvald. When Torvald returns, he tells Nora that Krogstad’s reputation was besmirched after refusing to admit to his wrongdoings and suggests that such corruption is detrimental to a household’s children, a comment that makes Nora worry about her own actions.
On Christmas Day, Nora fails to convince Torvald to save Krogstad’s job, so she tries her luck on Dr. Rank who reveals that he is dying and professes his love for Nora. Krogstad enters and informs Nora that he was fired and leaves a note detailing Nora’s forgery secret to Torvald. Mrs. Linde agrees to help Nora by speaking with Krogstad, whom she once had a relationship with, and Nora stalls for time by learning a dance she will perform at the costume party.
Act III, Section 1
Mrs. Linde expresses her love for Krogstad and agrees that Torvald must learn about Nora’s secret. After Mrs. Linde leaves, Torvald makes sexual advances toward Nora even though she protests, but they are soon interrupted by Dr. Rank who speaks to Nora in coded terms about his impending death. Torvald reads Krogstad’s letter exposing Nora’s secret, which enrages Torvald to the point of insulting Nora. Another letter from Krogstad arrives saying that he has decided to stop blackmailing Nora, much to Torvald’s relief.
Act III, Section 2
Torvald consoles Nora by reassuring her that he has forgiven her and loves her even more after understanding the reason behind her actions. Nora, however, realizes that she has been made to feel like a “doll” in her home and is merely playing a role, while never actually being able to express her true self. Nora asserts her desire to be free and discover life for herself, leaving Torvald and the children behind.