A Doll’s House Characters

Want to know more about A Doll’s House characters? Nora and Torvald, as well as minor characters in The Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, are discussed in this article by Custom-Writing.org experts.

Let’s dive right in!

🗺️ A Doll’s House Character Map

Below you’ll find A Doll’s House character map. It contains all the main characters that appear in the play.

The picture lists all the key characters in A Doll's House.

👩🏼 Nora Helmer

Despite being relatively young, Nora Helmer is a married woman raising three kids. In the play, Nora is presented as a rather careless character. It seems like she is completely happy, even though everyone else thinks that she is a “spendthrift.” In A Doll’s House, Nora is patronized by her husband, Torvald, who treats her like a little girl. However, it appears to have been a pretty typical situation at the time. Later in the play, Ibsen presents a rather unexpected plot turn. The woman seems to be more independent than women were supposed to be back then. Everything happening in the play concerns Nora directly since she is the main character.

Nora in A Doll’s House: Character Analysis

Torvald often calls Nora names like his “squirrel” and “songbird.” However, it goes a bit beyond just taking care of her. Sometimes Torvald treats Nora like a child, forbidding her to do certain things. All that is supposed to highlight Nora’s childish and carefree personality. The audience might even suggest that she acts more like an innocent kid rather than a responsible parent and adult. However, as the story goes on, it becomes evident that Nora is more frivolous and disobedient than her husband might think.

Nora’s decisions vary from simply eating sweets despite Torvald’s ban to borrowing a large sum of money behind his back. The latter becomes a somewhat threatening situation for the family’s reputation. However, it shows how determined the woman actually is when the life of her beloved is at stake. She wasn’t even worried about breaking the law in that situation. Unfortunately, Torvald has a different perspective. Instead of supporting her right away after finding out about the secret, he makes sure his social position is safe first. It pushes Nora to start thinking about more profound things like self-consciousness and society. Her image in the last scenes is so different since she appears as an empowered and sophisticated woman who leaves everything behind to find her true self finally.

Nora’s Quotes from A Doll’s House

You haven’t any idea how many expenses we skylarks and squirrels have, Torvald.

A Doll’s House, act 1

I never said I had borrowed the money. I may have got it some other way. Perhaps I got it from some other admirer. When anyone is as attractive as I am—

A Doll’s House, act 1

Five o’clock. Seven hours until midnight; and then four-and-twenty hours until the next midnight. Then the Tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and seven? Thirty-one hours to live.

A Doll’s House, act 2

Papa… called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls.

A Doll’s House, act 3

I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.

A Doll’s House, act 3

👨🏻 Torvald Helmer

Torvald Helmer is a bank worker who has recently been promoted to a higher position there. He is a man of traditional beliefs and thinks that his primary role is to protect and patronize his wife. Torvald believes that Nora is so helpless without his guidance that she wouldn’t make it without him. The idea of being her savior seems to feed his ego, which is already large enough but may suffer from any social issues. Thus, the secret loan Nora has been hiding leaves him speechless. At that moment of truth, we can clearly see the essence of Torvald in A Doll’s House.

Torvald in A Doll’s House: Character Analysis

Even though Torvald seems to have all the power in the relationship with Nora, it becomes apparent that it might be his protective response. His best friend, Dr. Rank, also notices it and suggests that Torvald can’t stand facing the harsh truths of real life. It is perfectly illustrated by his panic when he finds out that Krogstad has power over the Helmers’ reputation. Torvald’s behavior is proven to be quite childish throughout the plot. We can suggest that Torvald wants Krogstad only fired because he doesn’t show much respect. This character trait leads to another issue. 

Torvald is exceptionally conscious of other people’s opinions. When his social position and reputation are put at risk because of Nora’s loan, he loses his mind. His first concern is how to fix it instead of talking to his wife first and trying to understand her. Another quite important thing related to this situation that needs to be noted is how he sees love and marriage. He puts all the effort into convincing Nora to stay because their household will be considered ruined after she leaves. It is unbearable for Torvald to think about the humiliation he will face in that case. However, it appears that his behavior is what leads Nora to self-realization and their breakup.

Torvald’s Quotes from A Doll’s House

Such an atmosphere of lies infects and poisons the whole life of a home. Each breath the children take in such a house is full of the germs of evil.

A Doll’s House, act 1

When I watched the seductive figures of the Tarantella, my blood was on fire; I could endure it no longer, and that was why I brought you down so early—

A Doll’s House, act 3

Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined all my future.

A Doll’s House, act 3

How warm and cosy our home is, Nora. Here is shelter for you; here I will protect you like a hunted dove that I have saved from a hawk’s claws; I will bring peace to your poor beating heart.

A Doll’s House, act 3

Nora—can I never be anything more than a stranger to you?

A Doll’s House, act 3

Nora and Torvald in A Doll’s House

Nora and Torvald’s relationship in A Doll’s House can even be considered quite dysfunctional. They both pretend to be happy and in love. Torvald enjoys playing the role of her father. He thinks that he takes care of her, while, in fact, he is patronizing and overcontrolling. Meanwhile, Nora believes she is happy since she can live relatively carefree. However, she realizes that it is all just an illusion by the end of the play. She finds herself in a trap of marriage with a person she barely knows and without any purpose in life. Nora leaves the scene with a clear understanding that there was something wrong with their marriage, but Torvald is left in denial.

👨🏽 Krogstad

Krogstad is also on the list of the main characters in A Doll’s House. He works at the same bank as Torvald and appears as an antagonist at the beginning of the play. Krogstad is not afraid of blackmailing Nora in order to save his position. In A Doll’s House, Krogstad seems to be the least favorable character. However, this situation changes when the audience sees how sympathetic he is towards Nora. In fact, these two have more in common than it seems. It may be surprising that he gave up the idea of harming her reputation at the end, but a thorough analysis sheds light on the situation.

Krogstad in A Doll’s House: Character Analysis

The main characters find themselves in such an uncomfortable situation thanks to an incident that happened in the past. Nora decided to illegally borrow some money from Krogstad when her husband, Torvald, needed expensive treatment. However, when she is almost done paying off, Krogstad finds himself losing his job at the bank. It makes him blackmail Nora to keep the position since her husband has influence. If we look into this, we will find out that Krogstad only does what he thinks is best for his family, just like Nora. They were both kinds of forced into committing the same crime because of society.

Moreover, such a perspective allows him to be more understanding towards Nora than it might seem. Both of them were left with no choice. He also talks Nora out of committing suicide. By the end of the play, Krogstad finally finds a chance to become happier in life together with Mrs. Linde. It softens his harsh attitude, and he even gives up the means of blackmailing the Helmer family. Krogstad apologizes to Nora and sends back the IOU, proving that he was simply a man between a rock and a hard place. Society is to be blamed for forcing this character into morally unacceptable actions. If you want to know even more about this character, you can check out his quotes from A Doll’s House.

Krogstad’s Quotes from A Doll’s House

It is Christmas Eve, and it will depend on yourself what sort of a Christmas you will spend.

A Doll’s House, act 1

Oh, I have known your husband from our student days. I don’t suppose he is any more unassailable than other husbands.

A Doll’s House, act 1

I have been thinking about you all day long. A mere cashier, a quill-driver, a—well, a man like me—even he has a little of what is called feeling, you know.

A Doll’s House, act 2

Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, coal-black water? And then, in the spring, to float up to the surface, all horrible and unrecognisable, with your hair fallen out—

A Doll’s House, act 2

When I lost you, it was as if all the solid ground went from under my feet. Look at me now—I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage.

A Doll’s House, act 3

🎭 Other Characters in The Doll’s House

Mrs. Linde

Mrs. Linde is Nora’s friend, but they hadn’t seen each other for years before their meeting in the play. She is portrayed as a more down-to-earth and practical woman than Nora. In A Doll’s House, Mrs. Linde criticizes her friend for keeping secrets from her husband. Even though she turns her back on Nora, she means well since deceiving loved ones is never for the best. However, we find out that she has a pretty devoted personality. Not only Mrs. Linde likes working, but she also sees the meaning of her life in taking care of someone. It leads her to the reunion with her past love, Krogstad.

Dr. Rank

Dr. Rank is an old friend of the Helmer family. He comes to their house regularly and appears to be in love with Nora, as the audience finds out by the end of the play. The man also has an impressive attitude to life. Having a severe deadly illness, he accepts his fate with a smile. Moreover, Dr. Rank is more worried about his friends and prefers not to let them see his final days. It may be related to the fact that Torvald can’t stand such “ugly” real-life things as diseases. It is saddening that no one really seems to be too much concerned about his imminent death.


She is a maid who also takes care of three children in Helmer’s house. Anne-Marie is a very kind and attentive woman. She shows a lot of compassion and genuine worry towards Nora. Sometimes, it seems like Nora is rather rude to her. However, when she considers leaving her children, she suggests that Anne-Marie will be taking care of them. As it appears, the maid was also forced to sacrifice her family’s happiness for financial security, just like the other women in the play. Even though Ibsen doesn’t develop this character too much, she appears to represent a fate of an average woman of those times.

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🔗 References

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