A Doll's House

Lesson 7

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Objective

Analyze the climax of the play and explain how it creates theme and develops Nora’s character.

Readings and Materials

  • Play: A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen  — pp. 51-63

Target Task

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Multiple Choice

Which of the following can be inferred from the line “they must have a complete understanding between them” on p. 54?

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Writing Prompt

This scene marks the beginning of Nora’s “spiritual awakening.” Defend this statement using evidence from the text.

Key Questions

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What is Krogstad’s tone toward Mrs. L? What do we learn that helps us to understand his tone? (p. 52)
Krogstad’s metaphor about a shipwrecked sailor is meant to convey what? (p. 52)
Why does Krogstad ask Christine if she “has the courage”? The courage to do what? (p. 53)
Why does Christine change her mind about destroying the letter? What “incredible things” is she referring to? (p. 54)
Describe the change in the author’s tone toward Krogstad.
Track the ways Ibsen develops Helmer’s obsession with appearances and control on pp. 55–58.
Why does Nora tell Helmer that it is time to read his letters on p. 61? What does it seem she is hoping for?
How do the stage directions on p. 62 add to the conflict?
What does Nora seem to imply when she says she is “beginning to understand thoroughly” on p. 62?
Which statements by Helmer and Nora in this scene best convey the conflict both between them and within Nora?
The tarantella and the letter from Rank both suggest death. How do these references to death help to drive the plot? Foreshadow the ending?
What should Nora do? What would be the right thing to do? Which thing would keep up appearances?
What is the most important sentence in this scene? Why? (There is no right answer here, but the question should allow students to debate the pivotal moments and lines from the scene—lines that build both theme and plot.)

Notes

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The concept of a “spiritual awakening” may need to be introduced to students today if they have not seen it before. Students’ answers to the question about spiritual awakening should include references to the tarantella and images of death and rebirth throughout the scene.