A Fork in the Road

         In the film A Doll's House, directed by Patrick Garland in 1973 and based on the 1879 play by Henrik Ibsen, the characters of Nora Helmer (Claire Bloom) and Christine Linde (Anne Massey) follow paths in life that seem to oppose each other.

         Years before the film opens the women are the best of friends and both in love and about to marry. Nora marries her love Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) while Christine walks away with her romance with Krogstad (Denholm Elliott) in order to wed someone that is financially able to help her family Christine returns after the death of her husband without children or any other obligation to family. She has been left no money and has to join the workforce for herself and her family.

         Nora has spent her time happily married and at home with her children. She has saved and even worked to pay off the loan she acquired to save her husband, but she admits she found work quite satisfying to her personally. Christine apparently does not mind working since she offers to work and support Krogstad, but she does not find personal fulfillment in working for herself. When she has no one to work for and care for, her life has no real purpose.

         By the end of the play Christine is finding love and is going to marry again, while Nora has fallen out of love and is ending her marriage. Christine has also rediscovered a purpose in life by finding a family to work for. In contrast, Nora wants to find her meaning in life by leaving her family and working for herself and her own satisfaction.

         Christine and Nora both started out by making sacrifices for family. Christine wanted to help her brothers and mother and Nora wanted to help her husband. From that point, the events of their lives seemed to remain in opposition of one another.

Jaclyn Eaton

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