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A Doll’s House Henrik Ibsen

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The play opens at Christmas time as Nora Helmer enters her home carrying many packages. Nora’s husband Torvald is working in his study when she arrives. He playfully rebukes her for spending so much money on Christmas gifts, calling her his “little squirrel.” He teases her about how the previous year she had spent weeks making gifts and ornaments by hand because money was scarce. This year Torvald is due a promotion at the bank where he works, so Nora feels that they can let themselves go a little. The maid announces two visitors: Mrs. Kristine Linde, an old friend of Nora’s, who has come seeking employment; and Dr. Rank, a close friend of the family, who is let into the study. Kristine has had a difficult few years, ever since her husband died leaving her with no money or children. Nora says that things have not been easy for them either: Torvald became sick, and they had to travel to Italy so he could recover. Kristine explains that when her mother was ill she had to take care of her brothers, but now that they are grown she feels her life is “unspeakably empty.” Nora promises to talk to Torvald about finding her a job. Kristine gently tells Nora that she is like a child. Nora is offended, so she teases the idea that she got money from “some admirer” so they could travel to Italy to improve Torvald’s health. She told Torvald that her father gave her the money, but in fact she illegally borrowed it without his knowledge (women were forbidden from conducting financial activities such as signing checks without a man’s endorsement). Since then, she has been secretly working and saving up to pay off the loan.

Krogstad, a lower-level employee at Torvald’s bank, arrives and goes into the study. Nora is clearly uneasy when she sees him. Dr. Rank leaves the study and mentions that he feels wretched, though like everyone he wants to go on living. In contrast to his physical illness, he says that the man in the study, Krogstad, is “morally diseased.”

1 review for A Doll’s House Henrik Ibsen

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    tamoxifen Nutr J 2011; 10 139

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