Nora: And he didn’t leave you anything?
Mrs. Linde: No.
Nora: No children, either?
Mrs. Linde: No.
Nora: Nothing at all, then?
Mrs. Linde: Not even a feeling of loss or sorrow.
This exchange between Nora and Mrs. Linde takes place the first time Mrs. Linde comes to visit Nora. Mrs. Linde explains how her husband died and left her with nothing, not even “a feeling of loss or sorrow.” Mrs. Linde’s words reveal she doesn’t grieve her husband’s death, and we later learn that she married him out of convenience instead of love. Such an easy admission demonstrates how, as with Nora and Torvald, marriage does not always include love or affection.
Nora: How relieved you must feel –
Mrs. Linde: No, Nora. Just unspeakably empty. No one to live for any more.
Mrs. Linde explains how it feels to live after her husband, mother, and brothers have all died. Since Mrs. Linde had to support her family, Nora initially assumes she must be relieved to no longer have such a burden. However, in the traditional role of a woman, Mrs. Linde lived only to serve other people, and now that everyone is gone, she does not know what to make of her life.
Since I had to break with you, I thought it my duty to destroy all the feelings you had for me.
Mrs. Linde is explaining to Krogstad why she left him to marry her husband. Even though she loved Krogstad, Mrs. Linde believed she had to marry someone with money so that she could take care of her family. She sacrificed her own happiness and reputation in order to fulfill her duties to her family. She sacrificed her own feelings for Krogstad, by making him believe she was not someone he should love.
Mrs. Linde: Nils, suppose we two shipwrecked souls could join hands?
Krogstad: What are you saying?
Mrs. Linde: Castaways have a better chance of survival together than on their own.
After Krogstad compares himself to a “shipwrecked man clinging to a spar,” Mrs. Linde clarifies that they are both shipwrecked souls, and thus implies that they are equals. In declaring their equality and partnering together, Mrs. Linde and Krogstad have a better chance at a future than a couple with an imbalance of power. Mrs. Linde and Krogstad’s relationship is a stark contrast to the marriage of Nora and Torvald.
But a day has passed since then, and in that time I’ve seen incredible things happen in this house. Helmer must know the truth. This unhappy secret of Nora’s must be revealed. They must come to a full understanding. There must be an end of all these shiftings and evasions.
Here, Mrs. Linde explains to Krogstad why Torvald should find out about Nora’s forgery and loan. Although she at first works with Nora to try to keep her secret, Mrs. Linde now sees how the constant lies are impacting Nora and Torvald’s marriage. As someone who was in a marriage based on a lie, Mrs. Linde knows that the truth will help both Nora and Torvald move forward.