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Kobbi Gal EN 102 15/2/2011 Essay A3 Charged with Morality

The French philosopher Voltaire once said Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers. His statement correlates to the role of Mrs. Kristine Linde, a fictional character in Henrik Ibsens play, A Doll House. During the course of the play, Mrs. Lindes Socratic Method comes alive. She demonstrates an interrogative technique questioning characters, mainly Nora Helmer, stimulating thoughts and actions. Faultfinders may argue that Mrs. Lindes character throughout the play is egotistical, self-serving, and that she is a homewrecker pursuing her own personal interests, trampling on anything in her way to her final goal. At the same time that Mrs. Linde is desperately determined to build herself a new life she is the only character who has a concrete conception of ethics and possesses virtuousness; therefore suitably playing the part of the judge among criminals and an arbitrator of good versus evil in the story, positively affecting the characters she comes in intimate contact with, mainly Nora Hemler and Nils Krogstad. Uncovering and later recognizing Mrs. Lindes concealable and observable actions in the play will surely transform Mrs. Lindes critics into comprehending her exact interests and appreciating her values. Critics accuse Mrs. Linde of being selfish. Already in the first act this allegation is refuted. She is introduced as a woman whose life has just fallen apart. She lost her husband and took care of her dying mother for a long time. She steps into the Helmer household with no job, no offspring, and no prospects, where she meets Nora, a content housewife with a seemingly perfect life. Critics might use Mrs. Lindes entrance timing as evidence of her selfishness, pursuing a new life after her past has fallen apart. Wouldnt you try to elevate your life after difficulties and tragedies come your way, perhaps using an acquaintance as the stepping-stone for a brighter future? Besides, she comes in at an important time-block. If Mrs.

Linde had appeared slightly later in the play, Nora wouldve been behind bars. Although Mrs. Lindes life has been off track, she insists that Nora tell her about herself, showing extreme care and compassion towards a woman who has it all: a productive husband, three children and a warm home, the things she is desperately missing. Claims that Mrs. Linde is an egotistical, selfish woman are blurred when she insists Nora to, no, no, no, tell me about yourself (Ibsen 49), even after Nora talked about herself for a while. If the claims were true that Mrs. Linde came back into town to manipulate an old friend or she knew her husband can land her a job, Mrs. Linde would immediately turn to the reason she came back into town. Instead she shows compassion and interest towards Noras complicated situation. Only after hearing Noras troubles and advising her, Mrs.Linde decides to request a job from Torvald. In other words, Kristine demonstrates altruism, the very opposite of the accusations tagged onto her name. An additional one of Mrs. Lindes many roles in this play, subliminally evident in the first act, is similar to that of a priest. A priest lifts others up from their poor condition, motivates people to aim for higher aspirations, provokes people to noble virtues, and promotes charity. Although never directly stated of taking up the role of a priest, Mrs. Linde possesses all of these qualities. In one instance she demonstrates charity when she states to Dr. Rank, its the sick these days that need most to be taken in (58). The doctor, who belongs to a profession which is seen as amongst the highest classes in society responds, Its the healthy these days that are out in the cold (58). This exhibits the difference in views between Mrs. Linde, a simple traditional woman, and a doctor, a profession which is concerned with promoting, preserving or restoring human health in society. She supports the deprived, while the doctor backs the healthy. Another job of a priest is to hear a confession by a sinner and advise what ethical action the sinner should take. Because of her interrogative technique of questioning, she causes Nora to lose her composure and reveal the secret that Nora had loaned money without her husbands knowledge, which was forbidden in those times. Instantaneously after hearing the secret Mrs. Linde vigorously comments to Nora that her actions were indiscreet (54). Merely in the first

act, Mrs. Linde exhibits the role of a priest and an arbitrator of misconduct in a play and a time when women were not involved in anything but the household tasks, and were literally owned by their husbands. Through her roles, Mrs. Linde showed concern, involvement and attentive listening, which the critics obviously misinterpreted as intrusiveness. In the second act, Mrs. Lindes strongly emphasizes her traditional thoughts of a wifes behavior towards another man, also showing a strong conception of morals and correctly interpreting the stealthy relationship between Nora and Dr. Rank, as proven towards the end of the play. She returns to the Helmer household and helps Nora fix up her tarantella costume for her performance the day after. After a rather short dialogue about Noras due enactment, Mrs. Linde initializes an examination of Dr. Ranks daily visits to see Torvald, Noras husband, who is Torvalds best friend from childhood, and my good friend, too (74). Nora also mentions that Dr. Rank comes in every day. When Nora mentions that Dr. Rank is her good friend too, Mrs. Linde, acting as the traditional woman, recognizes that something is not ethically adequate with Nora and Dr. Ranks relationship and that Nora is still a child, unable to interpret those signs By sitting down with Nora and conversing with her about Dr. Ranks visiting frequency, she compares how a married woman should act in another mans presence with how Nora is acting with Dr. Ranks presence. She assesses that its not an adequate behavior for a married woman, finally ordering Nora to put an end to all this with Dr. Rank (75). Later on in the play, Dr. Rank proves Mrs. Lindes assumption was truthful and precise when his inner outlooks on Nora are revealed, admitting his love for Nora. Critics suggest that Mrs. Linde is plainly full of bitterness (52), as she describes herself. They might also suggest that Noras and Dr. Ranks relationship is a matter exclusive between themselves and that Mrs, Lindes hypocrisy is proven because she had feelings for two men simultaneously in her past. Directed towards the first part of the oppositions opinion, the fact is that Mrs. Linde meets Dr. Rank. After Nora formally introduces them, Mrs. Linde is a witness to an act done by Nora to Dr. Rank that common sense would describe as inappropriate for a married woman. Nora puts a macaroon in Dr. Ranks mouth (59).

That sort of act would be appropriate if Dr. Rank was one of Noras children, or even if her husband was present, not when Dr. Rank is a friend of her husband and is not a kin in the Helmer family. No matter how bitter Mrs. Linde is, a woman with her ethical and traditional beliefs cannot ignore what she had witnessed. In response to the second part of the oppositions statement, it is true that Mrs. Linde never learns of Dr. Ranks reveals to Nora, but the reader of the play does, optioning the reader to go back and analyze what Mrs. Linde apparently already knew, that Dr. Rank was in love with Nora. Mrs. Lindes weak accusation of being a hypocrite is disproven on the grounds that Mrs. Linde had never played any of her men. She decided the best for her family and had terminated the relationship with the Krogstad immediately. In other words, she had feelings for two men concurrently, but never together, opposite from Nora. Mrs. Lindes pin-point verdict helps Nora comprehend the real interests of the men shes surrounded with, a theme unraveled by Torvalds actions in the end of the play. Mrs. Lindes words have an effect on Nora, evident when Nora tells Dr. Rank that Now theres nothing you can do for me (84), also rejecting his analysis that he has filled the place of the maids in Noras childhood (85), the characters that she ran to when she wanted to get away from her father. These two examples occur after Mrs. Linde voices her concern to Nora. Mrs. Lindes character not only reverses Noras viewpoint, but also a viewpoint of a known criminal, Krogstad. Mrs. Lindes positive effect on Krogstad is evident in her restored relationship with him. In the opening scene of act three, Mrs. Linde and Krogstad are sitting in the Helmer living room, a situation which Krogstad initially senses unsuitable for the place of their meeting, perhaps because of his unresolved state with Nora (94). After some fawning from Mrs. Linde, Krogstad reacts with remonstration inquiring, Was there anything more to understand except whats all too common in life? A calculating woman throws over a man the moment a better catch slips by (94). Mrs. Linde answers with honesty, defending herself by expressing her belief that the decision was justified, acting for her familys interest in order to fund her family while admitting

that she had often doubted her right to abandon Krogstad (95). This truthful and moving conversation stimulates a change within Krogstad. Mrs. Lindes decision to be with him once again and wanting to build a family with him has an affirmative effect on him, awakening his character to his good qualities. Straight away, Krogstad decides he will request the letter he dropped in the Helmer mailbox from Torvald. This demonstrates how much of a positive influence Mrs. Linde has on Krogstad, a character whom in the first impression in the play was demonized, criminalized and distorted. Towards the end of the play Mrs. Lindes character transforms into a catalyst, directly affecting Noras fate through a sequence of actions forced on Krogstad. After inserting some ethics into Krogstads nature, resulting in his decision to ask for the letter back from Torvald, Mrs. Linde assertively states that Ive been a whole day and night since then, and in that time Ive seen such incredible things in this house. Helmers got to learn everything; this dreadful secret has to be aired; those two have to come to a full understanding; all these lies and evasions cant go on (97). It can be argued that Mrs. Linde wasnt the person that should have taken that decision because it doesnt concern her, but it can also be disputed that she acted as a Good Samaritan and showed her real friendship to Nora. Although she let the letter get to Torvald, she also made Krogstad write a succeeding letter stating that he would not reveal her crime to the public because of a happy development in his life (107), obviously being Mrs. Lindes decision to come back to him. If Mrs. Linde was a home-wrecker she would never have had Krogstad write the second letter. Instead, she tells Krogstad to write a following letter, indirectly causing Nora to realize the real face of her husband, an egotistical, self-serving man; the same characteristics Mrs. Linde was given by her critics. Nora realizes Torvalds true persona when he rejoices after opening the second letter and yells out, Im saved. Nora, Im saved (107), even though Noras fate was on the table and not his. This triggered Noras decision to declare, Were closing out accounts, Torvald (108). Mrs. Lindes effect on Krogstad

which caused Krogstad to write the second letter later opened by Torvald all lead Nora to realize her false husband and marriage and awakening Nora to a new perspective on life. As long as examinations of the text and basic human actions are incorrectly interpreted, we will continue to misjudge characters, such as Mrs. Linde, in popular culture and in real life. Any other person, taking similar actions for their friends, such as Mrs. Lindes towards Nora in the play, speak for themselves. Mrs. Lindes role as a judge and arbitrator eventually saved Nora from committing suicide and from a seemingly happy marriage, which turned out to be false. She turned the blackmailing Krogstad into her husband and fed him some moral fiber. Most importantly, she turned Nora from an un-opinionated model of a human being to an assertive adult. Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.