Nora’s Sacrifices in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House – A KCSE Sample Composition

Nora’s Sacrifices in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House – A KCSE Sample Composition

QUESTION: Nora sacrifices a lot for the sake of the wellness of her husband and children. Discuss drawing illustrations from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. 

People often sacrifice their wealth, time, ambitions, pleasures and even dignity for the ones they love. In A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen uses Nora to illustrate sacrifices that some women make for their families as mothers and wives.

Firstly, Nora sacrifices her image as an honest woman in order to save her husband who was ill. She goes against the society’s rule against women making monetary decisions and takes a loan to help her husband. When Helmer gets ill, the doctors confide to Nora that her husband’s condition could be fatal if he didn’t get an immediate change of climate. Nora tries to trick Helmer into going for a vacation but he  refuses. Nora goes out of her way and procures a 250 pound loan from Krogstad to facilitate the trip to Italy. This was against the society since women were not allowed to make any financial decisions. Since women were not allowed to make such critical financial decisions, Nora is forced to forge her ailing father’s signature to obtain the loan. By committing this fraudulent act Nora risks tainting her image in the society, she considers it a worthy trade off for her husband’s health.

Nora chooses to be silent over the loan and its repayment and chooses not to involve Torvald. Nora does not want to stress her husband with the loan and therefore she works tirelessly to settle it without his knowledge. She knows her husband will be very rash about it and indeed he does so towards the end of the play. She works late night for 3 weeks during the previous year’s Christmas period on typing and crochet work to earn money to repay the loan. When she is given money she saves some pennies by not buying herself nice and expensive clothes. She however always gets the best for her husband and children. She sacrifices her time and pleasure to repay the loan.

Nora was ready to take her own life to save her husband from embarrassment over her fraud. When Krogstad details to Nora the extent of her forgery and its risks she realizes she did something wrong. She had hoped that Torvald would refuse to be blackmailed by Krogstad and take the blame for the forgery instead. However she does not want to put Torvald in that position. She imagines the embarrassment that will come to her husband and she doesn’t want her husband suffering. She therefore contemplates suicide to save her husband’s reputation. Her willingness to commit suicide to save her husband’s face shows the extent of her sacrifices for the love of her husband.

Lastly, she picks her husband over her father. When doctors recommend a vacation for Torvald, it happens that Nora’s father is also sick. Nora chooses to stay with her husband instead of going home to stay with her father. When eventually he dies, Nora uses the situation to her advantage to procure the loan through a forgery with her father’s name and signature to take care of her husband. Out of love for her husband, she does not attend her father’s funeral and instead chooses to go to Italy with Torvald. Her sacrifice to choose her husband over her father without thinking of the consequences portrays Nora as a loving and faithful wife.

As a faithful wife and loving mother, Nora sacrifices her reputation, time and desires for the well-being of her husband and children. It is therefore understandable that she feels betrayed when she learns that Torvald would never meet her halfway.

An essay by Chris Hani Misama Ogweno (

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