A Doll’s House is one of Henrik Ibsen’s most famous plays, and a great contribution to feminist literature even though some characters do not seem important at first. Ibsen never explicitly identifies himself as a feminist but some of his speeches and acquaintances prove that he was concerned about society’s take on women; this is also proven by his play’s development and characters. Ibsen was controversial in his presentation of A Doll’s House, challenging traditional stereotypes and social norms.
Usually, a lot of credit and attention is given to the protagonist ‘Nora’ who is the symbol of a modernized woman when it comes to choice and behavior by the end of the third and final act, but when further going into context the reader will realize Mrs.Linde has an enormous contribution to the play. Mrs.Linde played a significant role in showing Ibsen’s negative opinions of Victorian Society. The limitations of the 19th century Bourgeois Society, as well as gender roles in Norway, led to Mrs. Linde’s sacrifices for love and happiness which later dictates Ibsen’s emphasis on women during the time. The bourgeois family as a whole was full of problems and created conflict in the play. The family in Ibsen’s play showed people enter marriage after having abandoned their happiness for the wrong reason.
The bourgeois individuals sell their love in favor of a marriage without love, but with economical advantages. Husband, wife, and children suffered all because of societal normalities. The family is also a place where power is executed, where Helmer appeared to fight for power and domination. During his plays, the family appears isolated from society and it seems that Ibsen stuck to the idea about the family as a place full of love and commitment. However, dilemmas are drawn into the scene. For example, in The Dolls House is stated “You mustn’t forget that I had a helpless mother and two little brothers. We couldn’t wait for you, Nils; your prospects seemed hopeless then.” This appears to show the relationship between Mrs.Linde and Krogstad and their love being ruined because of Mrs. Linde not being able to marry him because of financial situations.This part of the play significant demands from both of these characters to satisfy society.
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The conflicts could not be ignored, and the myth about isolated happiness in the family breaks down under the pressure from a society where there is no happiness from the start. The women are connected with these norms in the play and suffer greatly more than the male characters under these circumstances, but they carry a vision about liberation and another kind of life as Ibsen portrayed in this play. According to Ibsen’s moral ideals, women should be strong and independent enough to sacrifice and stand up to a controlling society; for example, Mrs.Linde, in A Doll’s House, abandons Krogstad for the ability to marry someone else with a better financial situation to support her family. This leads us to the discussion about Mrs.Linde’s contribution to the play and why she was a perfect example of why bourgeois society controlled her sacrifice for love and instead chasing after something else.
Mrs. Linde is generally known to the other characters as an old friend of Nora’s. She is a woman whose marriage was meaningless and based on a need for financial security. She and Krogstad had been in love at the time, but he was too poor to support her family leading her to find someone else it a stronger financial background. In the play, The Doll’s House is stated “ I could do nothing else. As I had to break with you, It was my duty to put an end to all that you felt for me” It is clear that Mrs. Linde has experienced many more negative events in her lifetime than, a character such as Nora. Mrs.Linde is deeply influenced by her life experience of having to leave the person she loves the most for the ability to take care of her family financially. Towards the end of the play, she plays a major role in encouraging Krogstad to hand in the letter that is to cause havoc in the Helmer household. She does this to ‘help’ Nora in her family life, thinking that Torvald would understand the sacrifices that Nora has made for him. It is clear that she encourages honesty over secrecy, for the sake of having “a complete understanding between them (Nora and Torvald)”. Do her actions throughout the play make her a good person? It is hard to decide, as in some cases, Mrs. Linde does appear to be quite selfish, looking at Nora’s husband to get a job; “I was delighted not so much on your account as on my own”.
On the other hand, she evokes the idea of morality into the play, she advises Nora to confess to Torvald and in addition to this, attempts to save Torvald’s reputation. Her role in the play is a very major one as she is a catalyst for what seemed impossible. This means that Torvald would have found out about Nora’s secrets anyways. She also serves as a buffer, to avoid tarnishing Torvald’s reputation as she discourages Krogstad from releasing the incriminating letter that may have caused a dilemma if released to the public.