Nora, the lead character, is impulsive and spontaneous. Kristine, her old friend is more staid and sticks to a more silent, well-planned, life. Anne, the nanny and nurse, shares the material realm of Nora's love of family, yet is less impetuous and has sacrificed far more emotionally than Nora. In analyzing the three female characters in Ibsen's A Doll's House it becomes apparent that Anne is more like Kristine than she is like Nora.
In the play we see that Kristine and Anne make pragmatic decisions, while Nora takes action based on short sighted and often self-centered motivations. In Act I, Nora asks Kristine, "Tell me, is it really true that you did not love your husband Why did you marry him". Kristine replies that she "...had to provide for my two younger brothers; so I did not think I was justified in refusing his offer.". This was the same sensible avenue that Anne took when faced with marriage years earlier. When Nora asks Anne about giving up her child to strangers, Anne points to the logical sense of the decision. Anne responds in Act II, "A poor girl who has got into trouble should be glad to. Besides, that wicked man didn't do a single thing for me". Though both decisions had different outcomes, they were made out of a duty and responsibility. Anne and Kristine were pragmatic, while Nora had exhibited impulsive and spendthrift behavior.
Anne and Kristine have both foregone the need of a male in their life and neither has been as reliant on a spouse as Nora has. Kristine had originally married for money in much the same fashion as Nora. However, Kristine has grown wiser with her years and tells Nora, "You are still very like a child in many things, and I am older than you in many ways and have a little more experience. Let me tell you this--you ought to make an end of it with Doctor Rank". When her husband died, Kristine was left childless and penniless, and has endured her situation. Kristine, like Anne, has not actively sought out a male companion merely as a means of financial support. Nora has relied on her late father and her husband, whom she has both deceived, to enrich her material life.
Kristine and Anne are true to their own sense of family values, and are shown to be more compassionate, while Nora has little self-imposed discipline. Nora's misdeeds with the forging of the bank documents are held at bay for as long as she can until disclosure is mandatory. This is the way Nora treats the entire world around her. At the end of Act I, when her children are asking to come inside, Anne, the nanny states, "The little ones are begging so hard to be allowed to come in to mamma.". Nora refuses and self examines her actions, "Deprave my little children Poison my home It's not true. It can't possibly be true". Nora has realized her own shortcomings, yet does not act on them. Kristine, however, sees the possibility of a family with Krogstad and remarks in Act III, "What a difference! What a difference! Someone to work for and live for--a home to bring comfort into. That I will do, indeed". Kristine and Anne understand their devotion to the people around them and the need for relationships, while Nora is smothered in her own self absorbed drama.
In A Doll's House Henrik Ibsen paints three different women, with different stations, in remarkably realistic tones. Kristine and Anne are more thoughtful and project the real independence that women of the age were in search of. Nora, a