Comparison & Contrast of the Characters Nora and Linde in “A Doll’s House” “A Doll’s House”, written by Henrik Ibsen is a three-act play, which talks about a family life, where Torvald Helmer is the husband to Nora, who is the housewife. The major characters within this play are Torvald Helmer, who is a bank manager; Nora Helmer, the wife to Torvald; Dr. Rank, a close friend to Torvald; Mrs. Linde, Nora’s friend since childhood; and Nils Krogstad, a bank clerk. The play also constitutes of the minor characters like Anne-Marrie, nurse; Ivar, Bob, and Emmy, little children to Helmer; Helene, the maid; and the delivery boy.
The play is dated back in the 19th century, during the Victorian Era, bringing in various contrasting differences in the primary female characters, Nora and Linde, not within the characters themselves but more of the roles these characters play in their marriages. This paper analyzes these two characters, Nora and Linde, bringing in their similarities and differences and also looking into other comparisons within the play, it will start by discussing how the two characters compare, then look into how they contrast and finally come up with other comparisons found within the play.
Though minimal, Nora and Linde have shown some form of a likeness especially in the roles they play in their marriages. Both ladies have unselfish personalities and made some significant sacrifices to the people they care about and love. Mrs. Linde exhibited loyalty to her family when she was in the position of refusing the marriage proposal by her husband. However, in consideration of the adverse condition of her mother, the brothers and the fact of Krogstad having money, she got married for the family’s well-being. Nora also cares for her husband very much.
She saves his life, which again tells us how omen gave first priorities to their families, through sacrifices. The character of Nora comes out so apparent to us through the actions of Mrs. Linde. She not only opened her mouth to talk about saving the life of her husband but did it full of pride. She claims to have been involved in the raising of the money by borrowing; maybe she is full of useful feelings towards change. These actions tell us that in this society the top priority is the family and being loyal to the loved ones is highly recommended.
The two women showed some instances of untruthfulness with Mrs. Linde telling lies to her husband just the same way as Nora. An example of lies by Nora is about the macaroons which she smuggles into the house consumed secretly and lied to Torvald about not to have had eaten anything. Moral lies again concerning the macaroons during the time she laid blame on Mrs. Linde for coming with pastries to the house and giving them to her. This minor dishonesty set in the larger and darker lies of Nora on falsification and the money borrowed throughout the whole story.
Mrs. Linde’s lies came in when Nora asked her why she married her husband if she truly did not love him. However, Mrs. Linde stated that she was supposed to look after her ill mother and younger brothers, and thus she had no choice. Furthermore, she explains to Nora how her husband was rich, but the business fell apart after his death leaving her with nothing. This had placed her into a struggling position the last three years, but it was over since her mother had passed away and her brothers were now working.
During this play, there are many contrast styles within the characters of Mrs. Linde and Nora. These contrasting differences as stated before are shown in the characters marriages and not the characters themselves. These two women exhibit different relationships with their husbands. The two women have different levels of experience in life and approached life to earn a living each in a different way. Mrs. Linde is seen to have a substantial experience, having struggled to work to earn a living though positions which are subsidiary to men.
She takes this life positive, though she longs for someone to be with or look after. Nora, however, as she later on discovered, has spent the better part of her life being attended to as a doll, given protection from adverse conditions, but was good at controlling men and eeding their desires about female vulnerability. The mistake that has been paid for substantially by Torvald is the same to that of Nora, but due to the requirement of the society for the women to be governed by their husband, the mistake will be linked to the failure of the husband to take control over his wife.
The feminine weaknesses within the society affect the characters differently due to one being weak and the other strong. Society calls for men to take responsibility for the lawful and financial relationships of the women. This shows Nora and Mrs. Linde being affected differently by the society to which they elong. “Nora could not borrow any money without her husband’s consent. On the other hand, a husband could do whatever he pleased with property that was his wife’s before the marriage. ” (Parker, 2003 para. 6). The incapability to come into an agreement made Nora become artificially weak.
The “habitual weakness in this form can put a woman to have the belief that her weakness comes from the personality of her gender, making her forget that this weakness is caused by the society itself ” (Barry 9). Mrs. Linde, however, does not come to terms with the stereotype of the Victorian woman being taken ontrolled of by the patriarchal society. Mrs. Linde comes into play like an old friend to Nora for some years. Being a widow make her free from many of the limits of society towards women. She is in the position of living on her own, coming up with her personal decisions, and can come into contracts if she so chooses.
She has come out to be strong as compared to Nora’s weakness, and we can note that “it is only because she is widowed that Mrs. Linde is allowed to work outside her home. ” (Parker, 2003 par. 5). The strength of Mrs. Linde is a slight indication of the message at the ending of the play that “a oman is in a position of becoming strong. ” (Barry, 2013 12). Mrs. Linde ended up being practical in contrast to Fanciful behavior by Nora. This difference was acknowledged by Mrs. Linde, and she asked Nora, “Nora, Nora are you not sensible yet? ” (Ibsen, 2015 19).
Through this question, Linde was trying to suggest that Nora can fight her feminine imagination and develop some strength and sensibility. To achieve this, Nora should stop depending on being coquette of getting what she needs, but as an alternative, get the personal self-confidence to at last become who she is. It is only eventually at the end of the play where we see Nora becoming sensible and strong on accepting that possibility. Mrs. Linde is a practical woman when compared to Nora’s impracticality. Women within the Victorian society were always busy with needlework.
Activities done by Nora were “full of embroidery, needlework, and crocheting” (Ibsen, 2015 12). Mrs. Linde, who comes out as an independent woman put most of her time on practical knitting, which made Torvald condemn her by stating that activities such as knitting “will never be anything but remain ugly” (Ibsen, 2015 93). This comment on the relative isuals of stitching and weaving showcases Torvald’s and originally, the weakness of Nora for depending on the plain things, exhibiting appropriate images, other than making the essence of an individual’s character.
The other difference comes in the level of maturity. Mrs. Linde had studied with Nora in the same school, but she was more mature when compared to Nora. Mrs. Linde has got to be mature through supporting her sick mother and brothers and later providing support to herself as a widow. Nora, however, has her childish behavior coming out as part of the role expected of a Victorian wife. The experience that has made Mrs. Linde more mature has also provided her with a strength that supports the strength of Nora at the end.
Apart from the above comparisons between Nora and Mrs. Linde, others also come in within the play, especially when looking into the themes brought out within the play. The life of Helmer appears to be a marriage that is happy with two happy couples. However, the lies are hidden and hinders growth. Nora seems to be so sweet just like the songbird but looking into the reality part of it; she is full of guilt due to forgery and the lies she has stated to her husband for a long time. Helmer comes out to be a husband full of love but turns against Nora, when his reputation reaches the line.
Mrs. Linde looks like an old woman full of bitterness but tries to assist Nora and Krogstad. Krogstad could appear to be the evil villain, but he just wants to maintain his responsibility of caring for his family and keep his job. Dr. Rank would be seen to be a best friend to Helmer, but when looking into the reality, he is actually in love with Nora. In his article, Eric Osterud states that “Nora’s and Helmer’s lives come out more of acting” (Osterud, 2004 147, but there comes other ontrasts of appearance and reality, as seen in the masquerade party and Tarantella dance.
Masquerade shows being in the position of acting out a role that is different and Helmer and Nora are found to be more excited concerning the chance. Going to the party finally, “It is the exit following the performance, with Helmer singling out and emphasizing. He converts it into a ‘flash’. The result of this flash become conditioned by a faster and abrupt disappearing act which is equal” (Osterud, 2004 50). This is significance because eventually, Nora does the same when she brings their marriage o an end by the disappearing act herself through the front door (Ibsen, 2015 118).
The two characters, Nora and Mrs. Linde, have come out alike and different through various occasions within the play. However, they have shown to vary more as compared to the levels of similarities. The variations in these two characters as seen has been more pronounced due to the roles they play in their marriages and relationships. This has also seen the role of the Victorian society contributing to the level at which the two characters differ from one another. It is, therefore, clear that Nora and Mrs. Linde are as different as they are similar.