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Foreshadowing in A Doll's House

Foreshadowing Examples in A Doll's House:

Act I

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"[MRS. LINDE starts, trembles, and turns to the window.] ..."   (Act I)

The stage directions reveal Mrs. Linde’s emotional reaction to Krogstad’s entrance. Rather than joining the conversation and making her presence known, she turns to the window, effectively hiding her identity. To tremble is to shake involuntarily, typically due to fear or excitement. For a live audience, these actions would foreshadow Krogstad’s importance as a character.

"to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now...."   (Act I)

Nora correctly predicts the outcome of Torvald discovering her actions, but she fails to foresee the cause for the upsetting of their “mutual relations.” In Nora’s mind, Torvald will be so grateful that he will feel indebted to her. This will result in him respecting her more and the gender dynamic of their marriage shifting. Nora is proud of her actions and believes that Torvald will be proud of her too. Mrs. Linde offers the first hint that Nora’s assumptions are incorrect.

"Helmer's refined nature gives him an unconquerable disgust at everything that is ugly;..."   (Act II)

In asking Nora to keep Torvald away from his sickbed, Doctor Rank acknowledges Torvald’s superficiality. Torvald, who aspires to appear refined and respectable, cares deeply about appearances. The revelation that his wife signed an illegal loan is likely to precipitate an “ugly” backlash and damage Torvald’s reputation, foreshadowing the appearance of his “unconquerable disgust.”

"Although I am quite sure that if I had asked him— ..."   (Act II)

The idea of asking Doctor Rank for help seems to stick with Nora. She repeats the notion twice, as though she is considering the possibility out loud, though it is a course of action Mrs. Linde condemns. This foreshadows Nora’s decision to ask Doctor Rank to help her “make an end of it” with Krogstad.

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