In many literary works, there are characters in which portray both similarities and differences. In the Play “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, two of the characters have many oppositions and congruencies. These characters go by the names of Nora Helmer and Mrs. Linde. Ibsen characterizes these women by describing their comparable and contrasting personalities. He does this by describing their financial situations as well as their family lives. He describes these women, as opposites while in fact there are some distinct similarities. They share many of the same values and goals. Both Nora and Mrs. Linde are strong women with a weak exterior.
Nora is described as a fragile woman that has been spoiled throughout her lifetime. The men in her life, her father and husband, have taken the roll of the authority figures. Nora is accustomed to relying on men to support and pamper her. She never has a care in the world. Though she appears to be content, in her heart she is not happy. She feels the urge to be set free to live her life the way she wants to, not they way her male authorities tell her to. A childhood friend of Nora’s, Mrs. Linde, shares many of the same qualities. Both women have been having recent financial problems. Nora even mentions that she had to find a job as well as Mrs. Linde. She states, “Yes; odds and ends, needlework, crochet-work, embroidery, and that kind of thing (Ibsen 360).” She says this as if she is disgusted by the fact that she must work to survive. Her husband gives her the idea that he is there to provide for her. Mrs. Linde’s husband had passed away three years before and unfortunately left her without a dime. From this cause, Mrs. Linde had the same burdensome experience that Nora had to face. The two characters also have the characteristic of the desire for independence. While Nora found a way to “save her husband’s life,” by taking him to rest in the south, Mrs. Linde had to take over the responsibilities of running a household.These women must have had a horrible time surviving since they were both so dependent on their husbands. Another similarity is that Nora and Mrs. Linde appeared to be significantly weak, when inside they were stronger than their husbands were described to be. Nora demonstrates this at the end of the play when she decides to leave her family and “grow up.”
Although Nora and Mrs. Linde share similarities, they also share many differences in their personalities. Even though the two women grew up in the same neighborhood, Nora’s family was substantially wealthier than Mrs. Linde’s was. Nora had always been pampered and waited on hand and foot. Mrs. Linde had to concentrate on raising her two younger brothers because her mother had grown very ill and had passed away. Even now that Nora has three children of her own, she still does not have a sense of responsibility. The woman that raised her (Anne-Marie) is now raising her children. Mrs. Linde, on the other hand, has no children, but had to support two younger brothers until they were old enough to support themselves. In the sense of responsibility they differ greatly. Also, Nora is more on the self-centered side, while Mrs. Linde is caring and an excellent listener. Mrs. Linde illustrates her tolerance and patience for listening at the beginning of the play when Nora boasts about how much money she and her husband now have. Nora brags, “Just fancy, my husband has been made manager of the bank. It will be splendid to have heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won’t it?”Nora failed to realize that her friend is going through a difficult period in her life and did not have a good financial situation. Thus, showing Nora’s selfishness and Mrs. Linde’s benevolent qualities.
Nora Helmer and Mrs. Linde are characters of numerous capabilities. While they both share the qualities of strength and unhappiness, they also differ considerably. Mrs. Linde shows a sense of responsibility and ambition, but Nora does not know the meaning of the word responsibility nor does she have any ambition. She finally realizes this at the end of the play when she decides to leave and mature enough to handle life’s challenges.