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Reginald White AP English IV: Literature & Composition February 15, 2013 Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll House

is an examination of human nature and personality. Each of the five main characters displays personality traits that can be considered a character flaw. One of those characters, Krogstad, is an example of a person who has the flaw of being cowardly. That flaw is made evident in several ways. For starters, in Act One, we are aware that the event that caused the main conflict in the play already happened before the events of the play. In short, we're brought in after Nora has taken out the loan to save her husband's life. Fast forward some years later (presumably), and Krogstad, the loaner, is looking for his money. But, instead of confronting her husband, which any braver man would do, he makes sure he avoids Nora's husband, and confronts her instead. It could be argued that if Krogstad approached Torvald first, it could be deemed as Krogstad being sexist, but I don't believe in confronting women on matters that deal with their husbands as well. That brings undue stress that the man (again, not being sexist) is supposed to handle as the man of the home. I make a connection to a point Steve Harvey, a comedian, made. In one segment, he describes how an insurance collector threatens his mother about a late payment. However, when his father hears of it, the insurance collector, a man, effectively backs off, and never talks to the mother again, knowing that if he did, we would be talking through an oxygen machine. In the grand scheme of things, Krogstad undermines Torvald, and that is one of the things that makes him cowardly. Second of all, Krogstad uses Nora to get what he wants out of her husband: a job. Again, this is undermining Torvald. A much braver and self respecting man would not be afraid to earn, or at least ask for a job in order to feed himself. Instead, in Act Two, Krogstad reasons that the best way to a man's heart is through is pet wife. Therefore, Krogstad uses the debt that Nora owes him as a way to get Nora to convince Torvald to hire Krogstad. The irony in this is that Torvald is not only stubborn, but he also refuses to value his wife's opinion, so Krogstad's cowardice and deception are in vain, and his character is stained further, leaving him without a job. The most evident example of his cowardice, however, is his handling of his relationship with Mrs. Linde. It seems as if she, as a woman, wears the pants in their relationship. Granted, a theme of the play is the role of men and women in society, and Mrs. Linde's dominance in their relationship is a nice break from the norm, but I would have liked to see Krogstad, if nowhere else in the play, show some backbone here. In Act Three, we get a detailed explanation of the relationship between the two before the events of the play unfolded. Evidently, Mrs. Linde left Krogstad due to personal struggles, not because of a lack of love for him. Krogstad could not process that, and in due time, he became the cold, spineless person we saw in Act One. Also, while Krogstad is out of a job, Mrs. Linde decides that she will be the breadwinner of the family: another example of the reversal of roles in traditional society. However, what am happy to see is that Mrs. Linde plans to make a man out of him yet. Maybe the love of a woman can do some good for Krogstad, and we see that, indeed, it does. Towards the end of the book, Torvald finds out about the debt, but he also goes on to find out that it is canceled, most likely on account that he has found what he wanted all along. Ultimately, Krogstad's character flaw makes him a better person for it in the end. Krogstad is what we call a dynamic character; he starts the story one way, and he ends it in another way. His cowardice is turned to love, and his pettiness is turned to forgiveness. Of course, his good deed did nothing for the main plot of the story (Nora and Torvald's marriage), but the relationship is a good double character foil for the Helmers, and I believe that somewhere down in Ibsen's heart, he believed that Krogstad and Mrs. Linde exemplified what a perfect marriage should be: full of love, regardless of social standards and outside opinions.

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