Effect of Krogstad's letter in "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen

Essay by DurablepantsHigh School, 11th gradeA-, October 2006

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In the beginning of the play, the relationship between Nora and Torvald appears to be the ideal husband-wife bond. Nora's spending habits and lie about the macaroons seem like frivolous concerns compared to the strong love Torvald and Nora share. However, as the story unfolds, these little lies turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg of the many other secrets hidden beneath. The most serious of these secrets is the lie about the loan. Nora realizes that Torvald discovering the letter that Krogstad sent to him could mean the end of their marriage and her life. Although dreaded and feared by Nora, Krogstad's letter liberates Nora from a controlling marriage and surprisingly serves as a catalyst in her maturation as a human being.

Krogstad's letter reveals to Nora the truth of her relationship with Torvald. Torvald reacts to the letter by calling her a "feather-brained woman" and blames her for "ruining [his] entire happiness" (Ibsen, Act III).

Nora expects Torvald to sympathize with her after he finds out about the letter, however his angry reaction reveals that he only cares about himself and his reputation. Torvald fails to acknowledge Nora's self-sacrifice by paying for the trip to Italy to save his life and leaves Nora feeling no guilt for her actions. In addition, when Torvald receives Krogstad's second letter containing his apologies, Torvald immediately revokes what he said, explaining that he has "forgiven her, completely and genuinely from the depths of his heart" (Ibsen, Act III). Torvald's willingness to return back to normal right after his denouncement of Nora as a wife exposes the superficiality of the marriage. Nora realizes that she is just a doll to Torvald, another ornament serving to improve his appearances. The letter plays a key...