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A Doll's House : Minor Characters

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A Doll's House : Minor Characters

"The supporting characters are important in themselves because they face the same type of problems..."(Urban "Parallels"). Minor characters do a fantastic job of dropping hints to the major themes at the end of any play. Nora's father, Mrs. Linde's husband, Nora's children, Krogstad's children, and Anne Marie, the minor characters in A Doll's House, play their roles perfectly in supporting and shadowing the main characters and themes of the play.

The first minor character who comes along in the story is Nora's father. The role of Nora's father is to support who Nora supposedly is as a person. For example, Nora seems to let money, "slip through [her] fingers...Just like [her] father," according to Torvald (Ibsen 283). Another aspect of Nora's life with her father was how he treated her as if she were an empty-headed doll. Torvald treats Nora during their marriage as an empty-headed wife, which is exactly how Nora's dad treated her as a child. Nora explains this in Act III when she says:

I have been your doll wife, just as at home I was Daddy's doll child. And the children in turn have been my dolls. I thought it was fun when you came and played with me, just as they thought it was fun when I went and played with them. (324)

The way Nora was raised by her father supports why she is able to leave her family behind and why she was able to commit a crime as Torvald seems to think. Torvald says, "All your father's irresponsible ways are coming out in you. No religion, no morals, no sense of duty..." (321). Nora comments that she can leave the children because she does not know what religion is. "Oh Torvald, I don't really know what religion is," (325). Nora never really knew who she was or what she believed because she has been treated so delicately her whole life. Nora's father shadows who Nora is as a person because of the qualities she gained from him and the way he treated her.

The second minor character, Mrs. Linde's husband, hints that the marriage between Nora and Torvald was a big lie. It also supports one theme of the play which is, marriage is getting to the point where people do it because they have too and not because they want to. Men are treating their wives as if they are empty-headed birds. William Urban suggests that perhaps:

Both Mrs. Linde and Nora chose the men they married by an intellectual rather than an emotional process...Mrs. Linde chose to marry her husband to provide economic security for both her mother and her two younger brothers. Then Nora chose to marry her husband at the time when her father could very well have been prosecuted for illegal business transactions. It may have been to influence Torvald to not prosecute her father. If that is true, there there is reason to doubt that she was ever as empty-headed as a doll as she claimed she was. (Urban "Parallels")

If Nora did marry her husband to save her father than their marriage has been and is a lie. Torvald comments that it is, "... punishment for turning a blind eye to him. It was for your sake I did it, and this is what I get for it," (Ibsen 321). Torvald suggests in that statement that he married her to keep her safe. The basis of their relationship is a lie just as was Mrs. Linde's marriage to Mr. Linde when she chose to marry him for the money.

The third set of minor characters that is encountered in the play are Nora's children. The behavior Nora uses when she interacts with her children shows why it is semi-easy for Nora to leave her children behind. Her relationship with them also clues in on how she herself was treated as a child by her father. Nora talks to her children as if they are play things. Nora says:

Have you had a nice time? That's splendid. And you gave Emmy and Bob a ride on your seldge? Did you now! Both together! There's a clever boy, Ivar....There's my sweet little baby-doll!...A great big dog came running after you? But he didn't

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