In A Doll's House, appearances proved to be misleading and masked the reality of the play's characters and situations. The first impressions of Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad are all eventually contradicted. In the beginning Nora initially seems a silly, childish woman, but as the play progresses, she seemed intelligent, motivated, and, by the end of the play, a strong-willed, independent thinker. Torvald, who was thought of as the strong, caring husband, exposed himself to be cowardly, petty, and selfish when he feared Krogstad may expose him to scandal. Krogstad also revealed himself to be a much more sympathetic and generous character than he first appeared to be. The play's climax was largely a matter of figuring out the character confusion "Krogstad was seen as a lover, Nora as an intelligent, brave woman, and Torvald as a sad man.
Problems in the book were misunderstood both by the reader and by the characters. The obvious hatred between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad turned out to be love. Nora's debtor turned out to be Krogstad and not, as Mrs. Linde supposed, Dr. Rank. Dr. Rank, to Nora and the reader's surprise, confessed that he was in love with Nora. And the seemingly evil Krogstad regrets what he had caused and returned Nora's contract to her, while the seemingly sympathetic Mrs. Linde stops helping Nora and forces Torvald's discovery of Nora's secret.
The instability of appearances in the Torvald household at the end of the play resulted from Torvald's attachment to image at the cost of the creation of true happiness. Because Torvald craved respect from his employees, friends, and wife, position and image are important to him. Any disrespect "when Nora calls him petty and when Krogstad casually calls Torvald by his first name, for example "made Torvald mad. By the end of the play, Torvald's obsession with controlling his home's appearance and his repeated control and refusal of reality have harmed his family and his happiness severely.