Notes on Characters from A Doll's House

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A Doll's House Major Characters

Torvald Helmer: Torvald Helmer is an businessman who has recently been promoted to the position of Manager of the Savings Bank. A scrupulous man, Torvald lives his life according to society's norms - both professionally and personally. He treats his wife, Nora, like a beautiful and treasured doll, who he can dress up, exhibit, and love externally. Torvald was extremely ill several years earlier and recovered in Italy. As the Manager of the Bank, he will earn more money, but still hopes to save some of it so that the family will not want in the future.

Nora Helmer: Nora Helmer is Torvald's beautiful young wife, who loves to spend money, dress in elegant clothing, and take care of her children. She wants to keep her life as easy and simple as it appears to be at the onset of the play. Despite the appearance she tries to convey, Nora holds a deep secret that threatens to destroy her happy home as she knows it. When the truth comes out that she borrowed money to save her husband years earlier, her financial and personal doom is imminent. She tries to save face, her husband, and family's reputation, but eventually discovers that she has been living in a doll's house her entire life.

Dr. Rank: Dr. Rank is a close personal friend of the Helmers who visits on a daily basis. He has no family or offspring to support, so he has amassed a large savings account. He dislikes Nils Krogstad and hides his deep feelings for Nora. Dr. Rank is the man who helped Torvald regain his strength and health years earlier and has since become part of the family. He is the confidante and friend of both Nora and Torvald. Nora feels as if she can speak with Dr. Rank in a way she can never speak to her own husband.

Kristina (Mrs. Linde): Kristina (Mrs. Linde) is an old school-friend of Nora's from their youth. Although they have not seen each other in several years, they instantly rekindle their friendship. Kristina, a widow of a loveless marriage, has come to Nora to beg her husband for a job. She and Nils Krogstad shared a romance in the past, and she ended it to marry her late husband for a large sum of money. At the Helmers, Kristina becomes Nora's confidante and helper as she tries to resolve her problems with Krogstad, the bank, and her husband. She believes Nora must be truthful with her husband and develop a sense of independence, as she has done.

Nils Krogstad: Nils Krogstad is a barrister at the bank in which Torvald works. He is a man of loose scruples who has lied and forged documents in the past, losing the respect of Torvald and his co-workers. Although he tries to start his life anew in complete honesty, he is also at risk for losing his job. Torvald plans to give his old job to Mrs. Linde. When Krogstad discovers such news, he threatens to tell Torvald that he is the man who lent Nora the money years earlier, destroying everyone's lives. Furthermore, Mrs. Linde had a romance with Krogstad in the past. Because of her influence on him, she tries to help Nora by urging Krogstad to drop his threats.

Minor Characters

The Helmer children: The three Helmer children run around the house during the course of the play. Nora plays with them and constantly wants to give them presents. They are the binding force between Nora and Torvald.

Anna-Maria (nurse/Nanny): The nurse, Anna-Maria, brings news to Nora about the mail and callers. Years earlier, she left her own child and family to raise Nora in a wealthy setting, and now is the trusty nursemaid to Nora's own children. She discusses family and finances with Nora.

Housemaid: The housemaid helps the Helmers with the housework, mail, and callers.

Porter: The porter helps run the Helmer household and delivers letters for them, including those to and from Krogstad.

Nora's father: Although he never makes a physical presence during the play, Nora's father's influence is felt throughout its course. Torvald repeatedly brings up his loose morals and past scandals to compare them to Nora.

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