Ibsen’s main theme in “A Doll House” is the sacrifice that women of all economic classes make. The play’s female characters illustrate Nora’s claim that even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, women have. Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her one true but broke love and marry a rich man in order to support her mother and her brothers. The nanny gave up her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s caretaker and then as Nora’s children’s. The nanny tells Nora that she is lucky to have found the job since she was “a poor girl who was led astray.” [ (Isben) ]
Nora is relatively well off financially in comparison to the play’s other female characters, she still leads a rough life because society dictates the Helmer be the governing partner in their marriage. He issues orders and is patronizing to Nora. Nora must hide her loan from him since she understands that he could never accept the fact that a woman, not even his wife, could save his life. Nora works in secret to pay off the loan since it is illegal t the time for a woman to obtain a loan without her husband’s permission. The attitudes of society and Torvald Helmer ultimately leave Nora vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail.
Finally, Nora abandons not only her marriage but her children. Another example of self-sacrifice is her love for the children as displayed through her interactions with them and her great fear of corrupting them. She believes that the Nanny will be a better mother. Nora not only sacrifices herself in borrowing money to save Torvald, but she loses the children she undoubtedly loves when she decides to pursue her own identity.
The female characters of Nora, Mrs Linde and the Nurse all have to sacrifice themselves to be accepted, or even to survive. Mrs Linde sacrifices the true love of her life, Krogstad, and marries a man she does not love in order to support her dependent relatives. The Nurse has to give up her own child to look after other...