Nora's family

Nora, the main character of Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, has been married for eight years to Torvald Helmer, a lawyer, and they have three children, Emmy, Bob and Ivar. Nora is probably about forty years old. She leads a comfortable middle-class life with her family in a large house in an unnamed town. The couple can afford a nurse and a maid.

Nora comes from an upper middle-class family, as she was sent to a girls' school in her youth, which only wealthy families could afford. Because her mother died at an early age, Nora is raised by the nurse Anne, who is now the nurse for Nora's own children.

Nora's father, who has been dead for some time before the events of the plot, worked at the ministry and was the victim of a character assassination campaign in the form of newspaper articles. Torvald, who was working at the ministry at the time, was assigned to investigate the allegations. He helps the family . He does this especially for Nora. After the death of Nora's father, Nora sees her husband as a father substitute.

Illness and debt

After Nora and Torvald marry, Torvald quits his job at the ministry because there are no chances of promotion in his department. He now has to earn more money than before as his family’s provider. Torvald works so hard that he becomes very ill as a result.

The only cure the doctors can think of for Torvald’s illness would be a long journey to the south. Torvald initially rejects their request. He ignores also Nora's pleading and begging . When Nora advises him to take out a loan for the trip, Torvald becomes angry and sternly rebukes her. 

Nora decides to act on her own and secretly takes out a loan of two hundred and fifty pounds (1200 species or 4800 kroner) from Krogstad without her husband's knowledge. She forges her father’s signature and tells everyone that the money is her inheritance. With this money, the couple travels to Italy one month after Nora’s father dies. They are able to live there for a year. Torvald returns fully recovered.

Nora knows she can never open up to her husband about what she has done: "And besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now." (Act 1, 43%). 

Nora confides the secret of the secret loan to her old friend Christine years later and is proud to have saved her husband's life with her deception (Act 1, 38%). At first, Nora lies to Christine and pretends she pretends that she got the money from a secret admirer, since she is aware that she "is attractive" (Act 1, 38%).

Nora eventually tells Christine that she has taken out a loan without her husband's knowledge. In order to be able to pay off the installments and quarterly interest due, Nora severely restricts her o...

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