The action of this play is about a woman named Nora who has an ill husband so she borrows some money to take her family to another warmer country where torvald, her husband can get better. However it is set in the 19th centaury and when Nora borrows the money from a crocked man, the contract has to be signed by her father who dies just before he can sign it, so Nora being rather naive signs it for him. When the family returns and torvald is no longer ill Nora has to pay back the money which she does.
The man, krogstad who she borrowed the money from works for her husband. And Torvald decides he is going to sack krogstad, Nora then struggles with Krogstad, who threatens to tell her husband about her past crime, creates Nora’s journey of self-discovery and provides much of the play’s dramatic suspense. Nora’s main struggle, however, is against the selfish, stifling, and oppressive attitudes of her husband, Torvald, and of the society that he represents. Eventually Torvald finds out and doesn’t support Nora so she leaves him and her children.
There is a very apparent subplot to this play; the krogstad. Christine love story. Christen comes back to the city to find Krogstad, who she loves. She is friends with Nora and Torvald gives her a job, which happens to be krogstad old one, Nora and Krogstad reunite and fall in love, and decided to get married, the subplot affects the scene in the scene that Christine convinces Krogstad to send the letter that condemns Nora to torvald and he does because he loves her but other than that their love storyline is relatively detached from the main plot of the play. It is clear that even though they are linked to the plot they are in fact the subplot because the scenes are rather fragmented and short and most of their conversation is about Nora and the plot, this is a clever trick used by Ibsen to use there private conversations as exposition and explanation of the play.
There are many different themes in the play: the role of women; secrets and deception; appearance and its difference to reality; letters and society. In the play all the women have had to sacrifice something about themselves because of society’s second class opinions of women. Nora is just a house wife and is only there to be seen but not heard, Mrs Linde sacrifices the true love of her life, Krogstad, and marries a man she does not love in order to support her dependent relatives. The nurse has had to give up her child for her poorly paid job, what’s more is she appreciates the fact that she has been given the job as she realises she has committed a terrible sin to have a child out of wed lock. In Ibsen’s time women were often stigmatised whereas men could escape virtually all blame.
In the play very little is as it first seems, Nora at first appears to be silly, immature, naive little girl but we then learn she has made great sacrifices to save her husbands life, and has kept the burden of the large loan secret from her ill husband. By the end of the play she realise that really she is a strong independent women and leaves Torvald. Torvald appears to be a loving, affectionate, generous if a little patronising husband however by the end of the play the audience learns he is shallow, vain man, concerned mainly with his public reputation more than anything and that he in fact never would shoulder the burden that would fall upon Nora, that he so often talked about in the end however he does love her he is conventional and finds it hard to question himself and society.
Krogstad at first introduction appears to be selfish, menacing and mean however once he is reunited with his love Mrs linde he becomes more generous and merciful. Mrs Linde appears to be happy with her new found independence however it soon becomes apparent that she is in fact “empty”. Rank who appears to be Torvald and Nora’s truest friend actually is just in love with Nora. Deception is a definite theme; the main liar in this play is Nora as she deceives Torvald about big things such as the loan. At first it seems that Torvald also lies to Nora saying that “I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life’s blood, and everything, for your sake.” However in reality when she does get in trouble all he cares about is his public reputation and definitely not her however at the time he does think that he would , therefore he is not lying.