A Doll's House

Nils Krogstad Character Analysis

Nils Krogstad is, at least at the beginning, the antagonist of the play. Known to the other characters as unscrupulous and dishonest, he blackmails Nora, who borrowed money from him with a forged signature, after learning that he is being fired from his job at the bank. In the past, he too committed the crime of forgery, an act that he did not go to prison for but that nonetheless ruined his reputation and made it extremely difficult to find a respectable job. Later in the play it is revealed that he was once in love with Kristine Linde, who ended up marrying another man in order to have enough money to support her dying mother and young brothers. This left Krogstad lost and embittered, unhappy in his own marriage, and is presented as the reason behind his moral corruption. At first he treats Nora without mercy on the basis that no mercy has been shown to him in life; however, after he and Mrs. Linde decide to marry, he becomes happier and rescinds his threats to Nora, saying he regrets his behavior. He is one of several examples in the play of a person being forced into morally questionable action as a result of the rigid and unmerciful forces of society.

Nils Krogstad Quotes in A Doll's House

The A Doll's House quotes below are all either spoken by Nils Krogstad or refer to Nils Krogstad. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of A Doll's House published in 1998.
Act One Quotes

I am not so heartless that I would necessarily want to condemn a man for a single mistake like that.

Related Characters: Torvald Helmer (speaker), Nils Krogstad
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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Just think how a man with a thing like that on his conscience will always be having to lie and cheat and dissemble; he can never drop the mask, not even with his own wife and children. And the children—that’s the most terrible part of it, Nora… A fog of lies like that in a household, and it spreads disease and infection to every part of it. Every breath the children take in that kind of house is reeking evil germs.

Related Characters: Torvald Helmer (speaker), Nora Helmer, Nils Krogstad
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act Two Quotes

I want to get on my feet again, Mrs. Helmer; I want to get to the top… For the last eighteen months I’ve gone straight; all that time it’s been hard going; I was content to work my way up, step by step. Now I’m being kicked out, and I won’t stand for being taken back again as an act of charity. I’m going to get to the top, I tell you… It’ll be Nils Krogstad, not Torvald Helmer, who’ll be running the bank.

Related Characters: Nils Krogstad (speaker), Nora Helmer, Torvald Helmer
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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You can’t frighten me! A precious little pampered thing like you…

Related Characters: Nils Krogstad (speaker), Nora Helmer
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act Three Quotes

What else is there to understand, apart from the old, old story? A heartless woman throws a man over the moment something more profitable offers itself.

Related Characters: Nils Krogstad (speaker), Kristine Linde
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderi

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Nils Krogstad Character Timeline in A Doll's House

The timeline below shows where the character Nils Krogstad appears in A Doll's House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...yet as Torvald is still with Dr. Rank. Nora asks who it is, and Nils Krogstad announces himself. Mrs. Linde gasps and turns away. Nora asks in a tense murmur what... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Mrs. Linde asks Nora who it was at the door. Nora replied that it was Krogstad. Mrs. Linde reveals that she used to know Krogstad many years before and says he’s... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...Nora asks what he means and Dr. Rank replies that it is a man called Krogstad who is “rotten to the core,” and that Nora wouldn’t know him. Nora asks what... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
The door half opens. Krogstad stands in the doorway, waiting. Eventually he announces himself. Nora jumps up, startled, and asks... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Krogstad says that he saw Torvald walking down the street earlier with a lady. Nora asks... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Krogstad asks in a more polite tone if Nora will use her influence to his advantage.... (full context)
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Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Krogstad says he knew Torvald in their student days and is sure he is no more... (full context)
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Deceit Theme Icon
Nora says she cannot help Krogstad; he insists that this is only because she doesn’t want to, and that he has... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
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Deceit Theme Icon
Krogstad remarks that either Nora doesn’t have a good memory or she doesn’t know much about... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Krogstad tells Nora how dangerous it was for her to admit to signing her father’s name,... (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Nora, alone, tells herself that Krogstad is just trying to scare her. The children stand in the doorway and tell her... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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Nora decorates the tree, still talking to herself, saying everything Krogstad has said is nonsense and that she will do anything Torvald wants her to. Torvald... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...and personnel over the Christmas week. Nora begins to say that that is why “poor Krogstad” is losing his job, but is interrupted by an annoyed “Hm!” from Torvald. (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora casually asks what Krogstad’s crime was. Torvald replies that it was forgery, and asks if Nora knows what that... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Torvald says a man like Krogstad will forever have to lie, even to his own family, and that the worst part... (full context)
Act Two
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...he hopes Nora is not referring to the conversation they had that morning about letting Krogstad keep his job. Nora says she is, and begs Torvald to let her have her... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora insists that Krogstad is capable of great evil, implying he could destroy the peace and happiness of hers... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Torvald says that there is another reason, separate from Krogstad’s history of bad behavior that makes him unable to let him keep his job. He... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...that it is too late, and says he is slightly insulted that Nora believes that Krogstad—“this miserable pen-pusher”—would have any power over him. However, he concedes that he finds it sweet... (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora, alone and “wild-eyed with terror,” talks to herself, trying to decide whether Krogstad is capable of acting on his threat. She cries out “help” and asks aloud if... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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Nora asks the maid if “he” (Krogstad) is in the kitchen. The maid replies that he came up the back stairs and... (full context)
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Nora remarks to herself that Krogstad is coming and that this is what she has been dreading. She locks the door... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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Krogstad asks if Nora has a clearer idea of her crime than she did yesterday. She... (full context)
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Krogstad explains that, even if the remainder of the debt is paid off, he will still... (full context)
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Krogstad reveals that he has a letter already written to Torvald explaining the situation. Nora insists... (full context)
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Nora tells Krogstad that he will never live to see himself run the bank. Krogstad asks if Nora... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
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Nora watches Krogstad exit and sees him drop the letter in the letter box. She cries out Torvald’s... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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Mrs. Linde announces that she is going to talk to Krogstad. Nora asks her not to, saying Krogstad can only do her harm. Mrs. Linde responds... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...any letters, and Torvald says he can tell that there is already a letter from Krogstad in the box, and that that is why Nora is frightened. Nora says there may... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora asks Mrs. Linde what happened when she went out. Mrs. Linde replies that Krogstad has left town, but is coming back the next evening and that she left a... (full context)
Act Three
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...someone. Eventually, she sees that someone is there, and goes out to let them in. Krogstad enters, saying he found a note from her, and asking what it means. Mrs. Linde... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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Money and Work Theme Icon
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Mrs. Linde addresses Krogstad by his first name and asks that the two of them talk. Krogstad asks if... (full context)
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Krogstad tells Mrs. Linde that when he lost her it felt as if the ground slipped... (full context)
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Mrs. Linde points out that both she and Krogstad are struggling alone in bad situations. She laments that she has “nobody to care about,... (full context)
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Krogstad, still uncertain, asks if Mrs. Linde knows about his past, and what people think of... (full context)
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Mrs. Linde interrupts Krogstad, saying that she can hear the tarantella. She explains this means the dance is about... (full context)
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Krogstad resolves to ask for his letter back unread, but Mrs. Linde asks him not to.... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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...go, insisting that he not try to save her. Torvald asks in disbelief if what Krogstad writes is true, and Nora says it is, saying she loved Torvald more than anything... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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...ruined his happiness and jeopardized his future, as he is now at the mercy of Krogstad. He says he must now do whatever Krogstad wants, and all because of Nora, who... (full context)
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...is pretending and says it would not do him any good if she died, because Krogstad could still tell other people about Nora’s crime and that people might even suspect Torvald... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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...plans to do next. He says he will try to find a way of appeasing Krogstad, and will make sure that nobody finds out about the whole situation. He tells Nora... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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...man she thought he was. She says that she hoped that when Torvald learned of Krogstad’s demands, he would not give in and tell Krogstad to tell the whole world. She... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
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...spend her life with. She points out that once he received the IOU back from Krogstad, he wanted to go on pretending that nothing had happened, except to protect Nora even... (full context)