A Doll’s House – Act 1 questions 1. Torvald refers to Nora by such names as his “little lark,” his “squirrel,” and the “little spendthrift.” What does his use of these names suggest about his attitude toward her? Explain. What seems to be Torvald’s attitude toward women in general?
2. Considering what Nora reveals to Mrs. Linde later in the act, what is ironic, or surprising, about Torvald’s comments concerning Nora’s management of money?
3. What details in the 1st act indicate that Nora and Torvald do not know each other very well?
4. What aspects of Nora’s personality are revealed in the information that she reveals to Mrs. Linde? How do these aspects of her personality contrast with the impression that she conveys to her husband?
5. Krogstad arrives just as Nora is commenting that “it is so marvelous to live and be happy!” What is the significance of this timing? How do Nora’s actions following Krogstad’s arrival reveal that she is nervous?
6. What aspects of Krogstad’s personality are revealed through his interactions with Nora, and how are they revealed? What seems to have been the nature of his previous relationship with Mrs. Linde? What details in the first act hint at the nature of the relationship?
7. What do Torvald’s comments about morality reveal about his character? How do his comments relate to Nora’s situation? What are the implications of his comments on her situation?
8. How and why did your impression of Nora change throughout the course of the 1st act?
9. It has been said that people who live their lives to please others never find real happiness. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
10. Nora’s beloved macaroons are an example of the type of minute details that Ibsen often included in his plays. How does his inclusion of the macaroons contribute to the development of both Nora’s and Torvald’s character and add to the play’s realism?
A Doll’s House – Act 2 questions
1. What is the significance of Nora’s openly questioning whether her children would forget her if she were “gone for good”? What later event might her question foreshadow or hint at?
2. In what way does Dr. Rank’s condition parallel Nora’s situation? How does Rank’s condition parallel Krogstad’s condition? What options are available to Nora and Krogstad that are unavailable to Rank?
3. How would you characterize Nora’s relationship with Dr. Rank? How would you describe her relationship with Anne-Marie? What do Anne-Marie and Dr. Rank offer her that her husband does not?
4. Why does Nora cover her ears when Rank speaks of suffering for the sins of the father?
5. Why does Nora decide not to ask Rank for the money?
6. What is Krogstad’s attitude toward Torvald? How is his attitude conveyed?
7. What is ironic about Torvald’s comment that Nora dances “as if [her] life were at stake”?
8. What might be the “miracle” for which Nora says she is waiting? Explain your answer.
9. What do you think that you might learn about personal relationships from the problems facing Nora and Torvald?
10. For which characters in the play do you have the most sympathy? Why? Which characters do you find the most distasteful? Why?
11. How do you react to Nora’s comment that “there are some people that one loves most and other people that one would almost prefer to be with”? Explain.
A Doll’s House – Act 3 questions
1. What draws Mrs. Linde and Krogstad back to each other? Do these two characters have more in common than Nora and Torvald do? Explain.
2. Why does Mrs. Linde tell Krogstad not to ask for his letter back?
3. After Nora and Torvald return from the party, why does Nora tell Torvald to “go away” and “leave [her] alone”?
4. How would you describe Torvald’s reaction to the news that Rank is going to die? What does Torvald’s reaction reveal about his personality?
5. What is ironic about Torvald’s comment that now that Rank is gone, he and Nora will be “thrown back on each other completely”? What other examples of irony can you find in his comments to Nora?
6. How does Rank’s demise parallel the collapse of Nora and Torvald’s marriage?
7. When Torvald asks Nora if she understands what she has done, she responds, “Yes. I’m beginning to understand everything now.” What is it that she is actually beginning to understand?
8. What does Torvald’s response to the letter reveal about the true nature of his feelings for Nora? What conclusions do you draw about him based on this response?
9. Why is Nora unmoved by Torvald’s declaration that he has forgiven her?
10. Explain whether you think Torvald truly understands Nora’s reasons for leaving.
11. How does the play’s title relate to Nora’s explanation of her decision to leave Torvald and the children?
12. Do you agree with Nora’s decision to leave? Why or why not?