Free. To be free, absolutely free. To spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it.
In this quotation from her conversation with Mrs. Linde in Act One, Nora claims that she will be “free” after the New Year—after she has paid off her debt to Krogstad. While describing her anticipated freedom, Nora highlights the very factors that constrain her. She claims that freedom will give her time to be a mother and a traditional wife who maintains a beautiful home, as her husband likes it. But the message of the play is that Nora cannot find true freedom in this traditional domestic realm. As the play continues, Nora becomes increasingly aware that she must change her life to find true freedom, and her understanding of the word “free” evolves accordingly. By the end of the play, she sees that freedom entails independence from societal constraints and the ability to explore her own personality, goals, and beliefs.