The Con Artist

     In the 1879 play, A Doll's House, written by Henrik Ibsen, and the 1973 movie, directed by Joseph Losey, the character Nils Krogstad is a con artist. Nils, played on screen by Edward Fox, is a more sympathetic charter in the movie than the character in the play. In the movie one can see his love for the widowed Mrs. Christine Linde (Delphine Seyrig).

     In the beginning of the movie one views see a scene where the young lovers part company, and Christine goes to marry a man who is more financial stable. This can be a factor to explain why Nils wants money and a good position so badly he will do anything to get it. In the play one does not learn the story of Nils and Christine until it takes place toward the conclusion, which may have been why my attitude is less sympathetic to him in the play. In the play one just sees how he is using people to get what he wants.

     At first he tries to persuade Nora Helmer, played by Jane Fonda, into helping him keep his job at the bank, where her husband will soon become bank manager; but, when this does not work, he blackmails her. Nils had seen an opportunity when she came to him for a loan when her husband was sick. He could not lose by giving her the loan. If she kept to the payments, he had a good loan. If she did not pay back the loan, he knew from past experience with Torvald, Nora's husband, that he would pay it back. If Torvald died, Krogstad knew she would go to her friend Christine for help, and he would get to see her again. I can look further into motives and guess he had not had not have a good relationship with Torvald as a kid, and he would enjoy having something to hold over him, as well as a hold on Christine.

     He could not have planned on what happens in the future; but, from what little I know of con artists, they use any opportunity to get what they want. Even in the end of the play, one observes him taking the opportunity that Christine gives him to get a wife, a caretaker, and a mother for his kids. He will never have to work again, and he has someone to care for him financially and emotionally.

     As a con artist Krogstad is great, for he is the only one to truly profit from this story.

Tammy Wheeler

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