A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen: Summary

Nora returned home from shopping for the Christmas. Helmer loved and called her by different names such as skylark, squander bird, etc. She intended to spend more money on Christmas this time because Helmer had become the manager of the bank and he was going to have a better income. The door bell rang. Helmer entered his study room.

Henrik Ibsen

Mrs. Linde came in. She was Nora's childhood friend. She had become a widow for three years. She had married a rich man for support to her sick mother and two brothers. Mother was now dead, and brothers were working for themselves. She had come to Nora to find a job for her own sake because purposeless life had become a bore for her. Nora assured her she would manage it. When Mrs. Linde asked her about the tour to Italy with her sick husband, she replied that she had managed herself two hundred and fifty pounds. Doctor had recommended a warm place for his recovery and so she did her best to take him to Italy. She did not tell her friend how she managed the money. Meanwhile, a lawyer called Krogstad entered. He went to talk to Helmer in his study. Dr. Rank who had come at the same time when Mrs. Linde came in had gone into the Helmer’s study room. He came out. He was introduced to Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde thought that Nora had borrowed the money from Dr. Rank. Nora convinced her husband to manage a job for her friend in the bank. Helmer promised he would do that for her.

Nora went to play with her three children. At the same time Krogstad entered hideously. He spoke to her to have influence over her husband in his favor. If he would be dismissed from his job, he would expose the forgery of hers which she had done to take a loan from the bank. She had signed her father's name when he was dying and her husband was sick. He went out with a threat to her. Nora urged her husband to consider the job that Krogstad was holding but Helmer was determined. Helmer believed that Krogstad had contaminated his children, too, with his lies and crimes. Nora was also afraid of the thought that she was also probably contaminating her children.

Nora was very disturbed. She discussed with her Maid who had looked after her as a mother. She intended to leave the children in her maid’s responsibility. Mrs. Linde came in. Nora gave her the works of stitching her fancy dress. When Helmer appeared, she asked him again to consider Krogstad's position because she was afraid that he would make some scandal in the newspapers. Helmer was bold. He assured her that he was ready to face any difficulty for him and for her. He had already thought to give the job to Mrs. Linde. Helmer went into his study. Dr. Rank came in. Nora was now busy in talk with him. The doctor was suffering from spinal tuberculosis. He was expecting his death soon. He was a very good friend of Helmer and also of Nora. Helmer had already sent the letter of dismissal to Krogstad. Therefore, in despair, he came again to talk to Nora. He had brought a letter in his pocket, which he intended to drop in the letter box. It was certain that Helmer would read the letter and the family happiness would be destroyed. In spite of all requests from Nora, he dropped it in the letter box. Nora confided in the case with Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde came to know that Nora had taken the money from Krogstad. She consoled Nora saying that she would go and convince Krogstad to withdraw the letter with excuses. Meanwhile, Nora had to engage Helmer in talk. Nora pretended to practice dance for the following evening. Helmer had to guide in her practice. Dr. Rank played music. Somehow Nora made Helmer promise not to work with the letter box that evening. Dr. Rank also helped her to confirm Helmer with promise. Unluckily, Krogstad had gone out of town. Mrs. Linde had left a note to him.

The following evening when the Helmer was dancing upstairs, Krogstad came in and met Mrs. Linde. In fact, Krogstad and Mrs. Linde were young time lovers. Because of the obligations towards mother and brothers, she had married a rich man. Now, she was free. Her mother was dead. The brothers were on their own feet. As Krogstad was also a widower and Mrs. Linde was a widow, she convinced him that they both could be together again. It could be no help by leaving the job for Krogstad. Therefore, she was ready to live by working for Krogstad and his children. Krogstad was very happy. It was a great moment of joy. He wanted to withdraw the letter with excuses. She wanted Helmer to read the letter so that both wife and husband could have a better understanding.

After the dance, Helmer opened the letter box and read the letter that had been dropped by Krogstad. Helmer now hated Nora for her crime. He called her a hypocrite, a liar, a criminal. He was not going to let the children be in her charge. He was going to live separately from Nora though in the same house. Fortunately, the Maid brought a letter from Krogstad which contained words of excuses for the troubles which he had created. He had sent the I.O.U. (I Owe You) back to them. Suddenly, after reading this second letter, Helmer was changed again. He started to love her again. But it was too late. Nora had become very serious for the first time. She felt that her father had treated her like a doll and her husband was also doing the same. She charged that Helmer was playing with her for fun. He really did not love her. She took her things and left the house, her husband and children, for ever to have an experience of the world in her own way. She went to her father’s house breaking all kinds of relation from her husband with whom she had lived for last eight years.

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