In the beginning of A Doll House, Nora seems like a typical happy housewife. She jokingly plays around with her husband. She gets excited and gladly brags over her husband’s new job. She seems as if her marriage is everything it should be. It is obvious that she genuinely enjoys the company of her husband and children. Nora, however, does not know her true self at all and does not realize this until the end of the play. Throughout the story, secrets start to come out and Nora is not the same happy worry-free wife she is at the beginning of the play. Everything Nora goes through makes her realize her life is completely opposite of what it is. Nora grows throughout her struggle in this story and at the conclusion, finally realizes that what she needs is independence.
At first, the protagonist Nora seems like she is just there to please her family. She allows her husband to talk down on her in little ways. He teases her and calls her nicknames like “little squirrel,” “little lark,” and even “little featherhead” (Ibsen 1.1.4,6,16). He shows he has authority over her but Nora does not mind any of these little demeaning names, “She does not seem to mind her doll-like existence, in which she is coddled, pampered, and patronized” (Editors). As the play progresses, Nora reveals that she has debts to pay off to someone named Krogstad. Nora took out a business deal to save her husband which proves Nora is intelligent and extremely brave since she also breaks the law to do so. This shows how she is a determined person. For years, she keeps this secret from her husband and secretly works extra jobs on the side to pay off these debts. Krogstad eventually turns to blackmailing Nora and her husband. Through these struggles, Nora seems to remain the same hard-working wife.
Things take an even worse turn in the play when Krogstad sends a letter that would let Nora’s husband know about her secret. Nora tries to do everything in her power to stop things from going bad but nothing she does works. Instead of being the worry-free wife who gets things done, Nora is having trouble controlling the situation and this has an impact on her character. She becomes desperate and asks for help from her friend. Nora then realizes that her secret will come to her husband’s attention no matter what because being honest with her husband is what matters the most. In the climax, Nora tries to distract her husband from opening the blackmail letter by using entertaining tricks, “Nora comes to realize that in addition to her literal dancing and singing tricks, she has been putting on a show throughout her marriage. She has pretended to be someone she is not in order to fulfill the role that Torvald, her father, and society at large have expected of her” (Editors). Once Torvald finds out what Nora did, his reaction is not what might be expected of someone whose life was saved. Nora contemplates suicide to protect her husband and children but Torvald is not even really...