Major Characters in A Doll’s House

Study Guide Major Characters in A Doll’s House

Nora Helmer

Nora Helmer is the protagonistDefinition: The central character in a story who drives the plot and faces the main conflicts.

Example: Nora Helmer is the protagonist of A Doll’s House.

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of the play, A Doll’s House. She is also the soul of the house as being the wife of Torvald Helmer and the mother of three children. She has never tasted the fruit of freedom. First, she has lived under the influence of her patriarchalDefinition: Systematic dominance and control exercised by male figures over women.

Example: Nora's life is shaped by patriarchal norms that limit her freedom..

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father and later shared the company of her husband, who follows customs in letter and spirit. The two men have never allowed her to experience the ways of the world, leading her to hold a materialistic approach toward life. However, the play explains the extent to which she tolerates this patriarchalDefinition: Systematic dominance and control exercised by male figures over women.

Example: Nora's life is marked by patriarchal oppression that she must overcome..

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oppression after which she emerges as a fully independent woman, rejecting the unconditional duties of her married life.

Torvald Helmer

Torvald Helmer is Nora's condescending husband. He is presented as a man who does not treat his wife on equal footing. Sadly, he sees her as an object to play with. Throughout the play, he loves to take a dominant position in their relationship, thinking that women are nothing without their husbands. Therefore, it is his job to guide and protect his wife. He strives hard to maintain his position in society, including his home. When he falls ill, he does not borrow to go on vacation. Later, when he learns about Nora’s secret, he fails to understand Nora’s feelings toward him. Instead, he thinks people will look down upon him after learning about this issue.

Nils Krogstad

Nils Krogstad comes into contact with Nora when working in her husband’s bank as she borrows the money from him and changes her fortune for good. He is the one who knows Nora has forged the signature of her father. Therefore, when his job at the bank faces the risk of being sacked, he exploits Nora’s secret as a weapon to save his position.

Ivar, Bob, and Emmy

Ivar, Bob, and Emmy are the young children of Nora and Torvald Helmer. They spend little time with their parents as Anne has taken their responsibility. Although Ibsen gives them less space in the play, yet their meaningful presence creates questions related to the parental role in the upbringing of the children of the society of that time.

Mrs. Linde

Mrs. Linde is Nora’s school friend who approaches her after many years after losing her husband and mother. After these grave losses, she comes pleading to Nora to help her restore her lost glories. When Nora shares her life’s secret with her, she wishes her to have a future based on honesty. Mrs. Linde also acts as a motivation for her friend’s revelation that Nora must win independence from the grim realities of her domestic life.

Dr. Rank

Dr. Rank, a close friend of Nora and Torvald and Torvald’s physician, embodies the traditional or theatrical role of the male moral force in the text. Instead of providing moral codes to the people associated with him, he exhibits moral and physical corruption. However, he is a real person who sees his life in danger and admits his love for Nora.

Anne

As the family nurse of Torvald and Nora, Anne’s responsibility lies in taking care of the children to find shelter after her mother’s demise. Her loyalty makes Nora believe that she will raise her children with love even during her absence.

Porter

The minor character of the play, the porter appears with a Christmas tree at the beginning of the text.

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