A Doll’s House PDF by Henrik Ibsen – Short Summary

A Doll’s House is the novel by Henrik Ibsen. It was published on December 21, 1879

Original Title: Et dukkehjem

Henrik-Ibsen www.pdfland.usWho is Henrik Ibsen?

Let’s take a trip to Skien in Norway. Ibsen was born on March 20th, 1828 in Norway, a small town of Skien and marriage in Altenburg. Ibsen wrote many plays including this one based on naturalism and realism. Much of Ibsen’s work was related to his life situations. For example, this novel was basically based on life of Ibsen’s good friend, Laura Kieler. Everything that’s happened among Torvald & Nora occurred to Laura and to her husband Victor. She took an illegal loan to save Victor from tuberculosis.

This novel reveals Henrik Ibsen’s personal views on a few important things in indirect ways. One, for example, is that Ibsen gives his point on how men & women do not get one another. Ibsen backs up his view by stating there are 2 kinds of moral laws, 2 kinds of conscience, one for men and one quite different for the women. They don’t understand each other but in real life, females are judged by masculine law as though she were not a female but man.

Another example shows that he doesn’t just portray this personality of the male degrading the female in one male role in the play. Furthermore, he portrays his personality making that 2 from 3 men in this particular play. Ibsen affirms his belief in saying, it is an exclusively male society with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges, who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint.

In this novel, not only does he define the social norm of women’s part in society. He also indirectly shows his personal view of women and how somewhat defends them. He also wanted to portray realism and indirectly voice his opinion on his own life and the lives of others. After researching absence life and childhood, many authors have exposed that he has a special point on men and it seems too awful link back to the mistakes his father made. As quoted by Georg Brandes and Ibsen’s eyes than average man is small, egotistical, and pitiful. He looks him not from purely scientific view but from moral perspective. He resides far more on badness of a man than on his foolishness and blindness.

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A-Doll's-House-www.pdfland.usWhat is A Doll’s House?

All 3 major meanings in A Doll’s House are underlying meanings and Ibsen’s life. Ultimately, these themes drove Ibsen into creation of this play.

The 3 major themes of “A Doll’s House” is as follows:

  1. The sacrificial part of a woman in society
  2. Filial & Parental obligations
  3. The unreliability of appearances

Women are constantly sacrificing their hopes and need to meet those of their family. Instead, they sacrifice the happiness for the benefit of others mainly men. Both Nora and Mrs. Linde make critical decisions about the parental obligations. Nora ignores her parental obligations and chooses to tend to the sick Torvald over her sick father. While Mrs. Linde chooses to tend to her sick mother instead of starting a family lacrosse step.

Each appearance of the characters through the show mask is are her true intentions and personality traits. The appearances are cut to be sure to truly develop the characters identities for the audience. It isn’t until the near of the climax that a recognition takes place and truly reveal the characters for what they are.

How Does Ibsen Turn This Into A Story?

The novel tells the tale of subservient wife Nora and condescending husband Torvalds relationship. Exposition Nora comes home with expensive Christmas gifts and Torvald argues that they should be saving money. Inciting incident Mrs. Lynd arrives to ask Nora’s husband for a job. Rising action Krogstad arrives and blackmails Nora. Krogstad delivers blackmail letter, that later exposes Nora.

Reversal! Krogstad agrees to take back the letter.

Recognition! Nora realizes she should confess.

Climaxed! Torvald finally reads Krogstad letter of Nora’s crimes and becomes infuriated with him.

Falling action! Nora realized that she and Torvald don’t know one another anymore and he only treats her like a doll. She then chooses to leave to gain independence for herself.

The resolution! there was no resolution. As the ending is left for audience to decide where Nora goes. In fact, if someones argue that audience must be trusted more than the author to provide a plausible explanation of signs of an artist’s work. Saying that the plate is on end of, follow the curtain in the fit half. The poet indicates the direction in which we may seek. It is now up to all of us to find her or his way there.


Here are the characters:

  • Nora Helmer; a central character because she took a loan to cover Torvalds medical expenses.
  • Torvald is pivotal because Torvald is giving his wife guidance and is upholding his reputation by any means necessary.
  • Krogstad is central because he’s keeping his job secure by blackmailing Nora.
  • Linde is pivotal because she arrives at the Helmers’ household and asks Nora for a job in the bank.

Nora Helmer:

Nora Helmer is the protagonist in the novel, she is married to Torvald Helmer & they have three children Bob Amy and Ervin. She’s approximately between the ages of 34. Nora lives in an upper-class family in Norway due to Torvalds high-rank job at the bank. While Torvald is the dominant one in the house.

Nora is treated like a doll. She is weak and childish. Her main objective is, keep her crimes from Torvald. Nora’s obstacles in A Doll’s House include Krogstad and Torvald. Krogstad is an obstacle because Krogstad is the source of the blackmail due to the loan.


Torvald is also an obstacle because he prevents her from doing what she wants and acting like a mature adult. He is married to Nora Helmer. Torvald is presumably in his late 40’s. He works at a bank as a newly promoted bank manager making more than sufficient funds. He’s a selfish and controlling husband who’s hypocritical views cause strife in their marriage. Torvald treats Nora as a child who needs guidance. His main objective is to maintain power in his marriage and to receive utmost respect from his Society. Torvalds obstacles include Nora’s free will to do what she pleases in the unpredictability of life.

Nils Krogstad:

Nils Krogstad is the antagonist and A Doll’s House. However, he is not a villain. He committed same crime as Nora. Mrs. Linde abandoned him for richer man leaving Krogstad for circumstance. He is persistent and cunning, he is also sympathetic. He grew-up with Torvalds so it can be inferred that they are about the same age. Krogstad’s main objective is to make available for his children. Krogstad’s obstacles include Torvalds unwillingness to spoil his own reputation by keeping Krogstad employed and society branding him as a criminal.

Mrs. Linde:

Mrs. Linde is a widower, trying to find a job to support herself. Her mother passed away and her brothers no longer depend on her. She’s presumably around the age of 32 to 40. She grew-up with Nora. Until her husband died she lived a pretty wealthy lifestyle. She is tough and has become very wise over past few years. Her main objective is to obtain a job from Nora to make available for herself and to gain some stability. Mrs. Linde’s obstacle is Krogstad because he stands in her way of getting a job.

Period influence:

This book was completed during the time of revolution in Europe. Norway at this time was starting itself as the nation and was governed by Sweden. Norway’s attitudes about women were more progressive than all over the world. At this time, women were still expected to marry and runs household much like today’s stay-at-home mom.

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