Doll's House Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Sports - Women Type: Term Paper Paper: #16436173 Related Topics: Feminism, Character Analysis, Feminists, Theater
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Mrs. Linde: Character analysis

In Henrik Ibsen's 19th century drama A Doll's House, the character of Christine Linde acts as a kind of foil for the main protagonist Nora Helmer. In most dramatic interpretations of the play (such as in the 1973 film version), to the audience, Christine appears to be dour, inhibited, and accepting of her fate in contrast with Nora's vivacity. Christine married a man she did not love out of duty to her poor family and her life has been one of unceasing toil. She believes her life is in sharp contrast with Nora's carefree existence. However, Nora, unbeknownst to Christine, has been toiling herself to repay a debt she incurred to enable her husband to take a vacation, an act which she believe saved his life. Still, Mrs. Linde never expresses female solidarity with Nora and even allows Nora's husband to find out that his wife borrowed money without his being aware of the fact. Ultimately, it is Christine's unquestioning self-sacrifice that really embodies what Ibsen believes to be the false ideal of the woman giving herself to marriage and asking nothing of her husband in return; it is brave Nora who attempts to live a more honest ideal away from the confines of this patriarchal institution.

Although she says has spent her life working, Christine has done so for others (a very feminine thing to do) and her fruits of her labor have ultimately been barren because her supposedly wealthy husband who was to provide for her and her relations died penniless. Nora comes to understand the falseness of the ideal that men can protect women; Christine never learns. "Nora…does not follow Kristine's example, does not leave the doll home to sacrifice herself for others. Hers is the more selfish and ruthless decision to re-create herself...

...

Nora, by the infamous slamming of the door at the end of the play, makes the decision to leave her own children so she can be fully realized as a human being, not simply live as a self-sacrificing wife.

There is an ironic contrast in regards to the value of work throughout the play as embodied by the two women. Nora appears to be the idealized angel at the hearth, or non-working wife, but it is she who is actually working like a man, unbeknownst to Torvald, as she takes on work at night to repay the loan she took to save her husband. Christine's main 'work' in life, for all of her seriousness and contempt of Nora, was to marry a man, until she was forced to take a job at Torvald's bank to support herself after her husband's death. The two women highlight together the unfairness of women's condition, the fact that society expects women to get married and offers women little real economic recourse outside of marriage to survive. Women do work in the capitalist sense but this work is not really acknowledged by society, the only 'real' work women are supposed to do is get married. Christine and Nora both work but the true cost of that work to both women is overlooked.

Christine is thus far from a feminist when contrasted with Nora. Christine could even be called the 'anti-feminist' heroine of the play, given the fact that her main romantic interest is that of Nils Krogstad, Nora's nemesis, to whom Christine gives herself unquestioningly. Krogstad attempts to blackmail Nora, demanding that Torvald give him his job back or otherwise he will expose her fraudulent signature on the loan she took out unbeknownst to Torvald. In the patriarchal world of 19th century Norway, this effectively also means disgracing Torvald, given the husband's presumed dominance over the wife's behavior. Far from censoring Krogstad, Christine in the end decides that there have been too many lies between the Helmers, even though Krogstad ultimately desires not to bring the case before the legal system and instead is…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

A Doll's House, 1973. Directed by Patrick Garland.

Stetz, Margaret D. "Mrs. Linde, Feminism, and Women's Work, Then and Now." Ibsen Studies

7.2 (2007): 150-168. Humanities International Complete. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Mazur, Ann. "Victorian Women, the Home Theatre, and the Cultural Potency of A Doll's


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