In A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, Nora Helmer made one mistake that would both cost and save her. While her husband was deathly sick, she took out a loan with someone in order pay for a much needed trip to Italy. The loan needed her father's signature in order to keep it a secret from her husband. Yet her father had just died, so Nora forged his signature. Nora did not know that the man she received the loan from, Nils Krogstad, knew about the forgery until he confronted her about it. This crime was kept a secret until the key scene in the play, in which Nora's husband, Torvald, reads a letter Nils Krogstad in which everything is disclosed. .

In beginning around Christmas, The Helmer's receive a surprise visit from one of Nora's old schoolmates whom she has not seen in years. Nora and her old friend, Mrs. Linde, start having a private conversation. They are discussing how their lives have been and Mrs. Linde tells Nora of all her troubles with her deceased husband and mother and no occupation. Nora then confides in Mrs. Linde that she illegally borrowed the money for her and Torvald's trip. This is the first mention of the situation and admittance of the crime. Yet Mrs. Linde still does not know who the man is but her knowing sets up a bad situation.

A little later in the story, Mr. Krogstad pays a visit to Torvald and it is ominous because Nora is very uneasy and Torvald then says he can give Mrs. Linde a job. This means that he is not allowing Mr. Krogstad to return to the bank. Then once Torvald leaves, Nora looks up and sees Mr. Krogstad still there looming over her like a dark shadow. This shows that it would not be easy getting rid of him and their arrangement. He threatens to expose her and demands she use her influence over husband to get him rehired. Yet her husband, upon hearing the idea, says people like him with moral corruption make him sick. The irony is that he committed the same crime as Nora, yet Torvald claimed that the "atmosphere of lies infects and poisons the whole life of a home.