Act One
Act Two
Act Three
                           A DOLL'S HOUSE

                            by Henrik Ibsen


                      translated by William Archer


                          by William Archer

   ON June 27, 1879, Ibsen wrote from Rome to Marcus Gronvold: "It 

is now rather hot in Rome, so in about a week we are going to 

Amalfi, which, being close to the sea, is cooler, and offers 

opportunity for bathing. I intend to complete there a new dramatic 

work on which I am now engaged." From Amalfi, on September 20, he 

wrote to John Paulsen: "A new dramatic work, which I have just 

completed, has occupied so much of my time during these last months 

that I have had absolutely none to spare for answering letters."  

This "new dramatic work" was Et Dukkehjem, which was published in 

Copenhagen, December 4, 1879. Dr. George Brandes has given some 

account of the episode in real life which suggested to Ibsen the 

plot of this play; but the real Nora, it appears, committed forgery, 

not to save her husband's life, but to redecorate her house. The 

impulse received from this incident must have been trifling. It is 

much more to the purpose to remember that the character and 

situation of Nora had been clearly foreshadowed, ten years earlier, in 

the figure of Selma in The League of Youth.  

   Of A Doll's House we find in the Literary Remains a first brief 

memorandum, a fairly detailed scenario, a complete draft, in quite 

actable form, and a few detached fragments of dialogue. These 

documents put out of court a theory of my own * that Ibsen 

originally intended to give the play a "happy ending," and that the 

relation between Krogstad and Mrs. Linden was devised for that 


   * Stated in the Fortnightly Review, July 1906, and repeated in 

the first edition of this Introduction.  

   Here is the first memorandum:-  

                  NOTES FOR THE * TRAGEDY OF TO-DAY 

                                                 ROME, 19/10/78.  

   There are two kinds of spiritual laws, two kinds of conscience, one 

in men and a quite different one in women. They do not understand each 

other; but the woman is judged in practical life according to the 

man's law, as if she were not a woman but a man. 

   The wife in the play finds herself at last entirely at sea as to 

what is right and what wrong; natural feeling on the one side, and 

belief in authority on the other, leave her in utter bewilderment. 

   A woman cannot be herself in the society of to-day, which is 

exclusively a masculine society, with laws written by men, and with 

accusers and judges who judge feminine conduct from the masculine 


   She has committed forgery, and it is her pride; for she did it 

for love of her husband, and to save his life. But this husband, 

full of everyday rectitude, stands on the basis of the law and regards 

the matter with a masculine eye. 

   Soul-struggles. Oppressed and bewildered by belief in authority, 

she loses her faith in her own moral right and ability to bring up her 

children. Bitterness. A mother in the society of to-day, like 

certain insects, (ought to) go away and die when she has done her duty 

towards the continuance of the species. Love of life, of home, of 

husband and children and kin. Now and then a womanlike shaking off 

of cares. Then a sudden return of apprehension and dread. She must 

bear it all alone. The catastrophe approaches, inexorably, inevitably.  

Despair, struggle, and disaster. 

   * The definite article does not, I think, imply that Ibsen ever 

intended this to be the title of the play, but merely that the notes 

refer to "the" tragedy of contemporary life which he has had for 

sometime in his mind.  

   In reading Ibsen's statement of the conflict he meant to portray 

between the male and female conscience, one cannot but feel that he 

somewhat shirked the issue in making Nora's crime a formal rather than 

a real one. She had no intention of defrauding Krogstad; and though it 

is an interesting point of casuistry to determine whether, under the 

stated circumstances, she had a moral right to sign her father's name, 

opinion on the point would scarcely be divided along the line of 

sex. One feels that, in order to illustrate the "two kinds of 

conscience," Ibsen ought to have made his play turn upon some point of 

conduct (if such there be) which would sharply divide masculine from 

feminine sympathies. The fact that such a point would be extremely 

hard to find seems to cast doubt on the ultimate validity of the 

thesis. If, for instance, Nora had deliberately stolen the money 

from Krogstad, with no intention of repaying it, that would 

certainly have revealed a great gulf between her morality and 

Helmer's; but would any considerable number of her sex have 

sympathised with her? I am not denying a marked difference between the 

average man and the average woman in the development of such 

characteristics as the sense of justice; but I doubt whether, when 

women have their full share in legislation, the laws relating to 

forgery will be seriously altered. 

   A parallel-text edition of the provisional and the final forms of A 

Doll's House would be intensely interesting. For the present, I can 

note only a few of the most salient differences between the two 


   Helmer is at first called "Stenborg"; * it is not till the scene 

with Krogstad in the second act that the name Helmer makes its first 

appearance. Ibsen was constantly changing his characters' names in the 

course of composition- trying them on, as it were, until he found 

one that was a perfect fit.  

   * This name seems to have haunted Ibsen. It was also the original 

name of Stensgard in The League of Youth.  


   The first scene, down to the entrance of Mrs. Linden, though it 

contains all that is necessary for the mere development of the plot, 

runs to only twenty-three speeches, as compared with eighty-one in the 

completed text. The business of the macaroons is not even indicated; 

there is none of the charming talk about the Christmas-tree and the 

children's presents; no request on Nora's part that her present may 

take the form of money, no indication on Helmer's part that he regards 

her supposed extravagance as an inheritance from her father. Helmer 

knows that she toils at copying far into the night in order to earn 

a few crowns, though of course he has no suspicion as to how she 

employs the money. Ibsen evidently felt it inconsistent with his 

character that he should permit this, so in the completed version we 

learn that Nora, in order to do her copying, locked herself in under 

the pretext of making decorations for the Christmas-tree, and, when no 

result appeared, declared that the cat had destroyed her handiwork. 

The first version, in short, is like a stained glass window seen  

from without, the second like the same window seen from within. 

   The long scene between Nora and Mrs. Linden is more fully worked 

out, though many small touches of character are lacking, such as 

Nora's remark that some day "when Torvald is not so much in love 

with me as he is now," she may tell him the great secret of how she 

saved his life. It is notable throughout that neither Helmer's 

aestheticism nor the sensual element in his relation to Nora is nearly 

so much emphasised as in the completed play; while Nora's tendency 

to small fibbing- that vice of the unfree- is almost an 

afterthought. In the first appearance of Krogstad, and the 

indication of his old acquaintance with Mrs. Linden, many small 

adjustments have been made, all strikingly for the better. The first 

scene with Dr. Rank,- originally called Dr. Hank- has been almost 

entirely rewritten. There is in the draft no indication of the 

doctor's ill-health or of his pessimism; it seems as though he had 

at first been designed as a mere confidant or raisonneur. This is 

how he talks:- 


   HANK. Hallo! what's this? A new carpet? I congratulate you! Now 

     take, for example, a handsome carpet like this; is it a luxury? I 

     say it isn't. Such a carpet is a paying investment; with it 

     underfoot, one has higher, subtler thoughts, and finer feelings, 

     than when one moves over cold, creaking planks in a comfortless 

     room. Especially where there are children in the house. The race 

     ennobles itself in a beautiful environment. 

   NORA. Oh, how often I have felt the same, but could never express 


   HANK. No, I dare say not. It is an observation in spiritual 

     statistics- a science as yet very little cultivated. 


   As to Krogstad, the doctor remarks:-  


     If Krogstad's home had been, so to speak, on the sunny side of 

     life, with all the spiritual windows opening towards the 

     light,... I dare say he might have been a decent enough fellow, 

     like the rest of us.  

   MRS. LINDEN. You mean that he is not....? 

   HANK. He cannot be. His marriage was not of the kind to make it 

     possible. An unhappy marriage, Mrs. Linden, is like small-pox: it 

     scars the soul. 

   NORA. And what does a happy marriage do?  

   HANK. It is like a "cure" at the baths; it expels all peccant 

     humours, and makes all that is good and fine in a man grow and 



   It is notable that we find in this scene nothing of Nora's glee 

on learning that Krogstad is now dependent on her husband; that fine 

touch of dramatic irony was an afterthought. After Helmer's 

entrance, the talk is very different in the original version. He 

remarks upon the painful interview he has just had with Krogstad, whom 

he is forced to dismiss from the bank; Nora, in a mild way, pleads for 

him; and the doctor, in the name of the survival of the fittest, *  

denounces humanitarian sentimentality, and then goes off to do his 

best to save a patient who, he confesses, would be much better dead.  

This discussion of the Krogstad question before Nora has learnt how 

vital it is to her, manifestly discounts the effect of the scenes 

which are to follow: and Ibsen, on revision, did away with it 



   * It is noteworthy that Darwin's two great books were translated 

into Danish very shortly before Ibsen began to work at A Doll's House.  


   Nora's romp with the children, interrupted by the entrance of 

Krogstad, stands very much as in the final version; and in the scene 

with Krogstad there is no essential change. One detail is worth 

noting, as an instance of the art of working up an effect. In the 

first version, when Krogstad says, "Mrs. Stenborg, you must see to 

it that I keep my place in the bank," Nora replies: "I? How can you 

think that I have any such influence with my husband?"- a natural 

but not specially effective remark. But in the final version she has 

begun the scene by boasting to Krogstad of her influence, and 

telling him that people in a subordinate position ought to be 

careful how they offend such influential persons as herself; so that 

her subsequent denial that he has any influence becomes a notable 

dramatic effect. 

   The final scene of the act, between Nora and Helmer, is not 

materially altered in the final version; but the first version 

contains no hint of the business of decorating the Christmas-tree or 

of Nora's wheedling Helmer by pretending to need his aid in devising 

her costume for the fancy dress ball. Indeed, this ball has not yet 

entered Ibsen's mind. He thinks of it first as a children's party in 

the flat overhead, to which Helmer's family are invited. 

   In the opening scene of the second act there are one of two  

traits that might perhaps have been preserved, such as Nora's 

prayer: "Oh, God! Oh, God! do something to Torvald's mind to prevent  

him from enraging that terrible man! Oh, God! Oh, God! I have three 

little children! Do it for my children's sake." Very natural and  

touching, too, is her exclamation, "Oh, how glorious it would be if 

I could only wake up, and come to my senses, and cry, 'It was a dream!  

It was a dream!'" A week, by the way, has passed, instead of a  

single night, as in the finished play; and Nora has been wearing  

herself out by going to parties every evening. Helmer enters  

immediately on the nurse's exit; there is no scene with Mrs. Linden in  

which she remonstrates with Nora for having (as she thinks) borrowed  

money from Dr. Rank, and so suggests to her the idea of applying to 

him for aid. In the scene with Helmer, we miss, among many other  

characteristic traits, his confession that the ultimate reason why  

he cannot keep Krogstad in the bank is that Krogstad, an old  

schoolfellow, is so tactless as to tutoyer him. There is a curious  

little touch in the passage where Helmer draws a contrast between 

his own strict rectitude and the doubtful character of Nora's 

father. "I can give you proof of it," he says. "I never cared to  

mention it before- but the twelve hundred dollars he gave you when you  

were set on going to Italy he never entered in his books: we have been  

quite unable to discover where he got them from." When Dr. Rank 

enters, he speaks to Helmer and Nora together of his failing health;  

it is an enormous improvement which transfers this passage, in a  

carefully polished form, to his scene with Nora alone. That scene,  

in the draft, is almost insignificant. It consists mainly of  

somewhat melodramatic forecasts of disaster on Nora's part, and the 

doctor's alarm as to her health. Of the famous silk-stocking scene- 

that invaluable sidelight on Nora's relation with Helmer there is 

not a trace. There is no hint of Nora's appeal to Rank for help,  

nipped in the bud by his declaration of love for her. All these 

elements we find in a second draft of the scene which has been  

preserved. In this second draft, Rank says, "Helmer himself might 

quite well know every thought I have ever had of you; he shall know 

when I am gone." It might have been better, so far as England is  

concerned, if Ibsen had retained this speech; it might have 

prevented much critical misunderstanding of a perfectly harmless and  

really beautiful episode.  

   Between the scene with Rank and the scene with Krogstad there  

intervenes, in the draft, a discussion between Nora and Mrs. Linden,  

containing this curious passage:-  


   NORA. When an unhappy wife is separated from her husband she is not  

     allowed to keep her children? Is that really so?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I think so. That's to say, if she is guilty. 

   NORA. Oh, guilty, guilty; what does it mean to be guilty? Has a  

     wife no right to love her husband?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, precisely, her husband- and him only.  

   NORA. Why, of course; who was thinking of anything else? But that  

     law is unjust, Kristina. You can see clearly that it is the men  

     that have made it.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Aha- so you have begun to take up the woman question? 

   NORA. No, I don't care a bit about it.  


   The scene with Krogstad is essentially the same as in the final  

form, though sharpened, so to speak, at many points. The question of  

suicide was originally discussed in a somewhat melodramatic tone:-  


   NORA. I have been thinking of nothing else all these days. 

   KROGSTAD. Perhaps. But how to do it? Poison? Not so easy to get  

     hold of. Shooting? It needs some skill, Mrs. Helmer. Hanging?  

     Bah- there's something ugly in that.... 

   NORA. Do you hear that rushing sound? 

   KROGSTAD. The river? Yes, of course you have thought of that. But  

     you haven't pictured the thing to yourself. 


   And he proceeds to do so for her. After he has gone, leaving the 

letter in the box, Helmer and Rank enter, and Nora implores Helmer  

to do no work till New Year's Day (the next day) is over. He agrees,  

but says, "I will just see if any letters have come "; whereupon she  

rushes to the piano and strikes a few chords. He stops to listen, 

and she sits down and plays and sings Anitra's song from Peer Gynt. 

When Mrs. Linden presently enters, Nora makes her take her place at 

the piano, drapes a shawl around her, and dances Anitra's dance. It 

must be owned that Ibsen has immensely improved this very strained and  

arbitrary incident by devising the fancy dress ball and the 

necessity of rehearsing the tarantella for it; but at the best it 

remains a piece of theatricalism.  

   As a study in technique, the re-handling of the last act is  

immensely interesting. At the beginning, in the earlier form, Nora  

rushes down from the children's party overhead, and takes a 

significant farewell of Mrs. Linden, whom she finds awaiting her. 

Helmer almost forces her to return to the party; and thus the stage is  

cleared for the scene between Mrs. Linden and Krogstad, which, in 

the final version, opens the act. Then Nora enters with the two 

elder children, whom she sends to bed. Helmer immediately follows, and  

on his heels Dr. Rank, who announces in plain terms that his disease  

has entered on its last stage, that he is going home to die, and  

that he will not have Helmer or any one else hanging around his 

sick-room. In the final version, he says all this to Nora alone in the  

second act; while in the last act, coming in upon Helmer flushed  

with wine, and Nora pale and trembling in her masquerade dress, he has  

a parting scene with them, the significance of which she alone  

understands. In the earlier version, Rank has several long and heavy  

speeches in place of the light, swift dialogue of the final form, with  

its different significance for Helmer and for Nora. There is no 

trace of the wonderful passage which precedes Rank's exit. To 

compare the draft with the finished scene is to see a perfect instance  

of the transmutation of dramatic prose into dramatic poetry.  

   There is in the draft no indication of Helmer's being warmed with  

wine, or of the excitement of the senses which gives the final touch  

of tragedy to Nora's despair. The process of the action is practically  

the same in both versions; but everywhere in the final form a 

sharper edge is given to things. One little touch is very significant.  

In the draft, when Helmer has read the letter with which Krogstad 

returns the forged bill, he cries, "You are saved, Nora, you are  

saved!" In the revision, Ibsen cruelly altered this into, "I am saved,  

Nora, I am saved!" In the final scene, where Nora is telling Helmer 

how she expected him, when the revelation came, to take all the 

guilt upon himself, we look in vain, in the first draft, for this 



   HELMER. I would gladly work for you night and day, Nora- bear  

     sorrow and want for your sake. But no man sacrifices his honour, 

     even for one he loves.  

   NORA. Millions of women have done so. 


   This, then, was an afterthought: was there ever a more brilliant 



   It is with A Doll's House that Ibsen enters upon his kingdom as a  

world-poet. He had done greater work in the past, and he was to do  

greater work in the future; but this was the play which was destined  

to carry his name beyond the limits of Scandinavia, and even of 

Germany, to the remotest regions of civilisation. Here the Fates  

were not altogether kind to him. The fact that for many years he was  

known to thousands of people solely as the author of A Doll's House 

and its successor, Ghosts, was largely responsible for the extravagant  

misconceptions of his genius and character which prevailed during 

the last decade of the nineteenth century, and are not yet entirely 

extinct. In these plays he seemed to be delivering a direct assault on  

marriage, from the standpoint of feminine individualism; wherefore  

he was taken to be a preacher and pamphleteer rather than a poet. In  

these plays, and in these only, he made physical disease a  

considerable factor in the action; whence it was concluded that he had  

a morbid predilection for "nauseous" subjects. In these plays he  

laid special and perhaps disproportionate stress on the influence of  

heredity; whence he was believed to be possessed by a monomania on the  

point. In these plays, finally, he was trying to act the essentially  

uncongenial part of the prosaic realist. The effort broke down at many  

points, and the poet reasserted himself; but these flaws in the 

prosaic texture were regarded as mere bewildering errors and  

eccentricities. In short, he was introduced to the world at large 

through two plays which showed his power, indeed, almost in 

perfection, but left the higher and subtler qualities of his genius 

for the most part unrepresented. Hence the grotesquely distorted  

vision of him which for so long haunted the minds even of 

intelligent people. Hence, for example, the amazing opinion, given  

forth as a truism by more than one critic of great ability, that the  

author of Peer Gynt was devoid of humour.  

   Within a little more than a fortnight of its publication, A  

Doll's House was presented at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, where Fru  

Hennings, as Nora, made the great success of her career. The play 

was soon being acted, as well as read, all over Scandinavia. Nora's 

startling "declaration of independence" afforded such an inexhaustible  

theme for heated discussion, that at last it had to be formally barred  

at social gatherings, just as, in Paris twenty years later, the 

Dreyfus Case was proclaimed a prohibited topic. The popularity of 

Pillars of Society in Germany had paved the way for its successor,  

which spread far and wide over the German stage in the spring of 1880,  

and has ever since held its place in the repertory of the leading 

theatres. As his works were at that time wholly unprotected in  

Germany, Ibsen could not prevent managers from altering the end of the  

play to suit their taste and fancy. He was thus driven, under protest,  

to write an alternative ending, in which, at the last moment, the 

thought of her children restrained Nora from leaving home. He 

preferred, as he said, "to commit the outrage himself, rather than  

leave his work to the tender mercies of adaptors." The patched-up 

ending soon dropped out of use and out of memory. Ibsen's own 

account of the matter will be found in his Correspondence, Letter 142.  

   It took ten years for the play to pass beyond the limits of  

Scandinavia and Germany. Madame Modjeska, it is true, presented a 

version of it in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1883, but it attracted no 

attention. In the following year Messrs. Henry Arthur Jones and 

Henry Herman produced at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, London, a play  

entitled Breaking a Butterfly, which was described as being "founded  

on Ibsen's Norah," but bore only a remote resemblance to the original.  

In this production Mr. Beerbohm Tree took the part of Dunkley, a  

melodramatic villain who filled the place of Krogstad. In 1885, again,  

an adventurous amateur club gave a quaint performance of Miss Lord's  

translation of the play at a hall in Argyle Street, London. Not 

until June 7, 1889, was A Doll's House competently, and even  

brilliantly, presented to the English public, by Mr. Charles  

Charrington and Miss Janet Achurch, at the Novelty Theatre, London, 

afterwards re-named the Kingsway Theatre. It was this production  

that really made Ibsen known to the English-speaking peoples. In other  

words, it marked his second great stride towards world-wide, as 

distinct from merely national, renown- if we reckon as the first  

stride the success of Pillars of Society in Germany. Mr. and Mrs. 

Charrington took A Doll's House with them on a long Australian tour;  

Miss Beatrice Cameron (Mrs. Richard Mansfield) was encouraged by the  

success of the London production to present the play in New York, 

whence it soon spread to other American cities; while in London itself  

it was frequently revived and vehemently discussed. The Ibsen 

controversy, indeed, did not break out in its full virulence until  

1891, when Ghosts and Hedda Gabler were produced in London; but from  

the date of the Novelty production onwards, Ibsen was generally 

recognised as a potent factor in the intellectual and artistic life of  

the day.                

   A French adaptation of Et Dukkehjem was produced in Brussels in  

March 1889, but attracted little attention. Not until 1894 was the  

play introduced to the Parisian public, at the Gymnase, with Madame 

Rejane as Nora. This actress has since played the part frequently, not  

only in Paris but in London and in America. In Italian the play was 

first produced in 1889, and soon passed into the repertory of Eleonora  

Duse, who appeared as Nora in London in 1893. Few heroines in modern  

drama have been played by so many actresses of the first rank. To 

those already enumerated must be added Hedwig Niemann-Raabe and 

Agnes Sorma in Germany, and Minnie Maddern-Fiske and Alla Nazimova  

in America; and, even so, the list is far from complete. There is 

probably no country in the world, possessing a theatre on the European  

model, in which A Doll's House has not been more or less frequently 


   Undoubtedly the great attraction of the part of Nora to the average  

actress was the tarantella scene. This was a theatrical effect, of  

an obvious, unmistakable kind. It might have been- though I am not  

aware that it ever actually was- made the subject of a picture-poster.  

But this, as it seems to me, was Ibsen's last concession to the 

ideal of technique which he had acquired, in the old Bergen days, from  

his French masters. It was at this point- or, more precisely, a little  

later, in the middle of the third act- that Ibsen definitely outgrew  

the theatrical orthodox of his earlier years. When the action, in 

the theatrical sense, was over, he found himself only on the threshold  

of the essential drama; and in that drama, compressed into the final  

scene of the play, he proclaimed his true power and his true mission. 

   How impossible, in his subsequent work, would be such figures as 

Mrs. Linden, the confidant, and Krogstad, the villain! They are not 

quite the ordinary confidant and villain, for Ibsen is always Ibsen,  

and his power of vitalisation is extraordinary. Yet we clearly feel 

them to belong to a different order of art from that of his later 

plays. How impossible, too, in the poet's after years, would have been  

the little tricks of ironic coincidence and picturesque contrast which  

abound in A Doll's House! The festal atmosphere of the whole play, the  

Christmas-tree, the tarantella, the masquerade ball, with its 

distant sounds of music- all the shimmer and tinsel of the background,  

against which Nora's soul-torture and Rank's despair are thrown into  

relief, belong to the system of external, artificial antithesis 

beloved by romantic playwrights from Lope de Vega onward, and 

carried to its limit by Victor Hugo. The same artificiality is  

apparent in minor details. "Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to live  

to be happy!" cries Nora, and instantly "The hall-door bell rings" and  

Krogstad's shadow falls across the threshold. So, too, for his  

second entrance, an elaborate effect of contrast is arranged, 

between Nora's gleeful romp with her children and the sinister  

figure which stands unannounced in their midst. It would be too much  

to call these things absolutely unnatural, but the very precision of  

the coincidence is eloquent of pre-arrangement. At any rate, they 

belong to an order of effects which in future Ibsen sedulously  

eschews. The one apparent exception to this rule which I can  

remember occurs in The Master Builder, where Solness's remark,  

"Presently the younger generation will come knocking at my door," 

gives the cue for Hilda's knock and entrance. But here an 

interesting distinction is to be noted. Throughout The Master 

Builder the poet subtly indicates the operation of mysterious,  

unseen agencies- the "helpers and servers" of whom Solness speaks,  

as well as the Power with which he held converse at the crisis in 

his life- guiding, or at any rate tampering with, the destinies of the  

characters. This being so, it is evident that the effect of 

pre-arrangement produced by Hilda's appearing exactly on the given cue  

was deliberately aimed at. Like so many other details in the play,  

it might be a mere coincidence, or it might be a result of inscrutable  

design- we were purposely left in doubt. But the suggestion of  

pre-arrangement which helped to create the atmosphere of The Master 

Builder was wholly out of place in A Doll's House. In the later play  

it was a subtle stroke of art; in the earlier it was the effect of  

imperfectly dissembled artifice.  

   The fact that Ibsen's full originality first reveals itself in 

the latter half of the third act is proved by the very protests,  

nay, the actual rebellion, which the last scene called forth. Up to 

that point he had been doing, approximately, what theatrical orthodoxy  

demanded of him. But when Nora, having put off her masquerade dress,  

returned to make up her account with Helmer, and with marriage as 

Helmer understood it, the poet flew in the face of orthodoxy, and 

its professors cried, out in bewilderment and wrath. But it was just  

at this point that, in practice, the real grip and thrill of the drama  

were found to come in. The tarantella scene never, in my experience-  

and I have seen five or six great actresses in the part- produced an  

effect in any degree commensurate with the effort involved. But when  

Nora and Helmer faced each other, one on each side of the table, and  

set to work to ravel out the skein of their illusions, then one felt  

oneself face to face with a new thing in drama- an order of 

experience, at once intellectual and emotional, not hitherto  

attained in the theatre. This every one felt, I think, who was in 

any way accessible to that order of experience. For my own part, I  

shall never forget how surprised I was on first seeing the play, to 

find this scene, in its naked simplicity, far more exciting and moving  

than all the artfully-arranged situations of the earlier acts. To 

the same effect, from another point of view, we have the testimony  

of Fru Hennings, the first actress who ever played the part of Nora.  

In an interview published soon after Ibsen's death, she spoke of the  

delight it was to her, in her youth, to embody the Nora of the first  

and second acts, the "lark," the "squirrel," the irresponsible, 

butterfly Nora. "When I now play the part," she went on, "the first 

acts leave me indifferent. Not until the third act am I really  

interested- but then, intensely." To call the first and second acts 

positively uninteresting would of course be a gross exaggeration. What  

one really means is that their workmanship is still a little  

derivative and immature, and that not until the third act does the  

poet reveal the full originality and individuality of his genius. 



                     TORVALD HELMER.

                     NORA, his wife.

                     DOCTOR RANK.

                     MRS. LINDEN. *

                     NILS KROGSTAD.

                     THE HELMERS' THREE CHILDREN.

                     ANNA, *(2) their nurse.

                     A MAID-SERVANT (ELLEN).

                     A PORTER.

   The action passes in Helmer's house (a flat) in Christiania. 

   * In the original "Fru Linde." 

   *(2) In the original "Anne-Marie." 

                              ACT FIRST 


   A room, comfortably and tastefully, but not expensively, furnished.  

In the back, on the right, a door leads to the hall; on the left  

another door leads to HELMER's study. Between the two doors a 

pianoforte. In the middle of the left wall a door, and nearer the 

front a window. Near the window a round table with armchairs and a  

small sofa. In the right wall, somewhat to the back, a door, and  

against the same wall, further forward, a porcelain stove; in front of  

it a couple of arm-chairs and a rocking-chair. Between the stove and  

the side-door a small table. Engravings on the walls. A what-not  

with china and bric-a-brac. A small bookcase filled with handsomely 

bound books. Carpet. A fire in the stove. It is a winter day. 

   A bell rings in the hall outside. Presently the outer door of the  

flat is heard to open. Then NORA enters, humming gaily. She is in 

outdoor dress, and carries several parcels, which she lays on the 

right-hand table. She leaves the door into the hall open, and a PORTER  

is seen outside, carrying a Christmas-tree and a basket, which he 

gives to the MAID-SERVANT who has opened the door.  


   NORA. Hide the Christmas-tree carefully, Ellen; the children must  

     on no account see it before this evening, when it's lighted up.  

     [To the PORTER, taking out her purse.] How much? 

   PORTER. Fifty ore. * 


   * About sixpence. There are 100 ore in a krone or crown, which is  

worth thirteenpence halfpenny.  


   NORA. There is a crown. No, keep the change. 

             [The PORTER thanks her and goes. NORA shuts the door. She  

              continues smiling in quiet glee as she takes off her  

              outdoor things. Taking from her pocket a bag of 

              macaroons, she eats one or two. Then she goes on tip-toe  

              to her husband's door and listens.  

   NORA. Yes; he is at home.  

             [She begins humming again, crossing to the table on the  


   HELMER. [In his room.] Is that my lark twittering there? 

   NORA. [Busy opening some of her parcels.] Yes, it is.  

   HELMER. Is it the squirrel frisking around?  

   NORA. Yes!           

   HELMER When did the squirrel get home? 

   NORA. Just this minute. [Hides the bag of macaroons in her pocket  

     and wipes her mouth.] Come here, Torvald, and see what I've been 


   HELMER. Don't interrupt me. [A little later he opens the door and  

     looks in, pen in hand.] Buying, did you say? What! All that? Has 

     my little spendthrift been making the money fly again? 

   NORA. Why, Torvald, surely we can afford to launch out a little  

     now. It's the first Christmas we haven't had to pinch. 

   HELMER. Come come; we can't afford to squander money.  

   NORA. Oh yes, Torvald, do let us squander a little, now- just the  

     least little bit! You know you'll soon be earning heaps of money.  

   HELMER. Yes, from New Year's Day. But there's a whole quarter  

     before my first salary is due. 

   NORA. Never mind; we can borrow in the meantime. 

   HELMER. Nora! [He goes up to her and takes her playfully by the  

     ear.] Still my little featherbrain! Supposing I borrowed a 

     thousand crowns to-day, and you made ducks and drakes of them  

     during Christmas week, and then on New Year's Eve a tile blew off  

     the roof and knocked my brains out-  

   NORA. [Laying her hand on his mouth.] Hush! How can you talk so  


   HELMER. But supposing it were to happen- what then?  

   NORA. If anything so dreadful happened, it would be all the same to  

     me whether I was in debt or not. 

   HELMER. But what about the creditors?  

   NORA. They! Who cares for them? They're only strangers.  

   HELMER. Nora, Nora! What a woman you are! But seriously, Nora, you 

     know my principles on these points. No debts! No borrowing! Home 

     life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on 

     borrowing and debt. We two have held out bravely till now, and we  

     are not going to give in at the last.  

   NORA. [Going to the fireplace.] Very well- as you please, Torvald. 

   HELMER. [Following her.] Come come; my little lark mustn't droop 

     her wings like that. What? Is my squirrel in the sulks? [Takes 

     out his purse.] Nora, what do you think I have here? 

   NORA. [Turning round quickly.] Money!  

   HELMER. There! [Gives her some notes.] Of course I know all sorts  

     of things are wanted at Christmas. 

   NORA. [Counting.] Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. Oh, thank you, thank 

     you, Torvald! This will go a long way. 

   HELMER. I should hope so.  

   NORA. Yes, indeed; a long way! But come here, and let me show  

     you all I've been buying. And so cheap! Look, here's a new suit  

     for Ivar, and a little sword. Here are a horse and a trumpet for 

     Bob. And here are a doll and a cradle for Emmy. They're only 

     common; but they're good enough for her to pull to pieces. And 

     dress-stuffs and kerchiefs for the servants. I ought to have got 

     something better for old Anna. 

   HELMER. And what's in that other parcel? 

   NORA. [Crying out.] No, Torvald, you're not to see that until this 


   HELMER. Oh! Ah! But now tell me, you little spendthrift, have you  

     thought of anything for yourself?  

   NORA. For myself! Oh, I don't want anything. 

   HELMER. Nonsense! Just tell me something sensible you would like to  


   NORA. No, really I don't know of anything- Well, listen, Torvald-  

   HELMER. Well?        

   NORA. [Playing with his coat-buttons, without looking him in the 

     face.] If you really want to give me something, you might, you 

     know- you might-   

   HELMER. Well? Out with it! 

   NORA. [Quickly.] You might give me money, Torvald. Only just what  

     you think you can spare; then I can buy something with it later  


   HELMER. But, Nora-   

   NORA. Oh, please do, dear Torvald, please do! I should hang the  

     money in lovely gilt paper on the Christmas-tree. Wouldn't that  

     be fun?            

   HELMER. What do they call the birds that are always making the 

     money fly?         

   NORA. Yes, I know- spendthrifts, * of course. But please do as I 

     ask you, Torvald. Then I shall have time to think what I want  

     most. Isn't that very sensible, now? 


   * "Spillefugl," literally "playbird," means a gambler. 


   HELMER. [Smiling.] Certainly; that is to say, if you really kept 

     the money I gave you, and really spent it on something for 

     yourself. But it all goes in housekeeping, and for all manner of 

     useless things, and then I have to pay up again. 

   NORA. But, Torvald-  

   HELMER. Can you deny it, Nora dear? [He puts his arm round her.] 

     It's a sweet little lark, but it gets through a lot of money. No 

     one would believe how much it costs a man to keep such a little  

     bird as you.       

   NORA. For shame! How can you say so? Why, I save as much as ever I 


   HELMER. [Laughing.] Very true- as much as you can- but that's  

     precisely nothing. 

   NORA. [Hums and smiles with covert glee.] H'm! If you only knew, 

     Torvald, what expenses we larks and squirrels have.  

   HELMER. You're a strange little being! Just like your father-  

     always on the look-out for all the money you can lay your hands  

     on; but the moment you have it, it seems to slip through your  

     fingers; you never know what becomes of it. Well, one must take  

     you as you are. It's in the blood. Yes, Nora, that sort of thing 

     is hereditary.     

   NORA. I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities. 

   HELMER. And I don't wish you anything but just what you are- my  

     own, sweet little song-bird. But I say- it strikes me you look 

     so- so- what shall I call it?- so suspicious to-day- 

   NORA. Do I?          

   HELMER. You do, indeed. Look me full in the face.  

   NORA. [Looking at him.] Well?  

   HELMER. [Threatening with his finger.] Hasn't the little 

     sweet-tooth been playing pranks to-day?  

   NORA. No; how can you think such a thing!  

   HELMER. Didn't she just look in at the confectioner's? 

   NORA. No, Torvald; really- 

   HELMER. Not to sip a little jelly? 

   NORA. No; certainly not. 

   HELMER. Hasn't she even nibbled a macaroon or two? 

   NORA. No, Torvald, indeed, indeed! 

   HELMER. Well, well, well; of course I'm only joking. 

   NORA. [Goes to the table on the right.] I shouldn't think of 

     doing what you disapprove of.  

   HELMER. No, I'm sure of that; and, besides, you've given me your 

     word- [Going towards her.] Well, keep your little Christmas  

     secrets to yourself, Nora darling. The Christmas-tree will bring 

     them all to light, I daresay.  

   NORA. Have you remembered to invite Doctor Rank? 

   HELMER. No. But it's not necessary; he'll come as a matter of  

     course. Besides, I shall ask him when he looks in to-day. I've 

     ordered some capital wine. Nora, you can't think how I look  

     forward to this evening. 

   NORA. And I too. How the children will enjoy themselves, Torvald!  

   HELMER. Ah, it's glorious to feel that one has an assured position 

     and ample means. Isn't it delightful to think of?  

   NORA. Oh, it's wonderful!  

   HELMER. Do you remember last Christmas? For three whole weeks  

     beforehand you shut yourself up every evening till long past 

     midnight to make flowers for the Christmas-tree, and all sorts 

     of other marvels that were to have astonished us. I was never  

     so bored in my life. 

   NORA. I didn't bore myself at all. 

   HELMER. [Smiling.] But it came to little enough in the end, Nora.  

   NORA. Oh, are you going to tease me about that again? How could I  

     help the cat getting in and pulling it all to pieces?  

   HELMER. To be sure you couldn't, my poor little Nora. You did your 

     best to give us all pleasure, and that's the main point. But, all  

     the same, it's a good thing the hard times are over. 

   NORA. Oh, isn't it wonderful?  

   HELMER. Now I needn't sit here boring myself all alone; and you  

     needn't tire your blessed eyes and your delicate little fingers- 

   NORA. [Clapping her hands.] No, I needn't, need I, Torvald? Oh, how  

     wonderful it is to think of? [Takes his arm.] And now I'll tell  

     you how I think we ought to manage, Torvald. As soon as Christmas  

     is over- [The hall-door bell rings.] Oh, there's a ring! 

     [Arranging the room.] That's somebody come to call. How tiresome!  

   HELMER. I'm "not at home" to callers; remember that. 

   ELLEN. [In the doorway.] A lady to see you, ma'am. 

   NORA. Show her in.   

   ELLEN. [To HELMER.] And the doctor has just come, sir. 

   HELMER. Has he gone into my study? 

   ELLEN. Yes, sir.     

             [HELMER goes into his study. ELLEN ushers in MRS. LINDEN,  

              in travelling costume, and goes out, closing the door.  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Embarrassed and hesitating.] How do you do, Nora?  

   NORA. [Doubtfully.] How do you do? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I see you don't recognise me! 

   NORA. No, I don't think- oh yes!- I believe- [Suddenly 

     brightening.] What, Christina! Is it really you? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; really I!  

   NORA. Christina! And to think I didn't know you! But how could I-  

     [More softly.] How changed you are; Christina! 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, no doubt. In nine or ten years-  

   NORA. Is it really so long since we met? Yes, so it is. Oh, the  

     last eight years have been a happy time, I can tell you. And now 

     you have come to town? All that long journey in mid-winter! How  

     brave of you!      

   MRS. LINDEN. I arrived by this morning's steamer.  

   NORA. To have a merry Christmas, of course. Oh, how delightful!  

     Yes, we will have a merry Christmas. Do take your things off.  

     Aren't you frozen? [Helping her.] There; now we'll sit cosily by 

     the fire. No, you take the arm-chair; I shall sit in this  

     rocking-chair. [Seizes her hands.] Yes, now I can see the dear 

     old face again. It was only at the first glance- But you're a  

     little paler, Christina- and perhaps a little thinner. 

   MRS. LINDEN. And much, much older, Nora. 

   NORA. Yes, perhaps a little older- not much- ever so little. 

     [She suddenly checks herself; seriously.] Oh, what a thoughtless 

     wretch I am! Here I sit chattering on, and- Dear, dear Christina,  

     can you forgive me!  

   MRS. LINDEN. What do you mean, Nora? 

   NORA. [Softly.] Poor Christina! I forgot: you are a widow. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; my husband died three years ago. 

   NORA. I know, I know; I saw it in the papers. Oh, believe me,  

     Christina, I did mean to write to you; but I kept putting it off,  

     and something always came in the way.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I can quite understand that, Nora dear. 

   NORA. No, Christina; it was horrid of me. Oh, you poor darling! how  

     much you must have gone through!- And he left you nothing? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Nothing.  

   NORA. And no children? 

   MRS. LINDEN. None.   

   NORA. Nothing, nothing at all? 

   MRS. LINDEN.  Not even a sorrow or a longing to dwell upon.  

   NORA. [Looking at her incredulously.] My dear Christina, how is  

     that possible?     

   MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling sadly and stroking her hair.] Oh, it happens 

     so sometimes, Nora.  

   NORA. So utterly alone! How dreadful that must be! I have three of 

     the loveliest children. I can't show them to you just now; 

     they're out with their nurse. But now you must tell me 


   MRS. LINDEN. No, no; I want you to tell me-  

   NORA. No, you must begin; I won't be egotistical to-day. To-day  

     I'll think only of you. Oh! but I must tell you one thing- 

     perhaps you've heard of our great stroke of fortune? 

   MRS. LINDEN. No. What is it? 

   NORA. Only think! my husband has been made manager of the Joint  

     Stock Bank.        

   MRS. LINDEN. Your husband! Oh, how fortunate!  

   NORA. Yes; isn't it? A lawyer's position is so uncertain, you see, 

     especially when he won't touch any business that's the least bit 

     shady, as of course Torvald never would; and there I quite agree 

     with him. Oh! you can imagine how glad we are. He is to enter on 

     his new position at the New Year, and then he'll have a large  

     salary, and percentages. In future we shall be able to live quite  

     differently- just as we please, in fact. Oh, Christina, I feel so  

     lighthearted and happy! It's delightful to have lots of money, 

     and no need to worry about things, isn't it? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; at any rate it must be delightful to have what 

     you need.          

   NORA. No, not only what you need, but heaps of money- heaps! 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling.] Nora, Nora, haven't you learnt reason yet? 

     In our school days you were a shocking little spendthrift. 

   NORA. [Quietly smiling.] Yes; that's what Torvald says I am still. 

     [Holding up her forefinger.] But "Nora, Nora" is not so silly as 

     you all think. Oh! I haven't had the chance to be much of a  

     spendthrift. We have both had to work. 

   MRS. LINDEN. You too?  

   NORA. Yes, light fancy work: crochet, and embroidery, and things of  

     that sort; [Carelessly] and other work too. You know, of course, 

     that Torvald left the Government service when we were married. He  

     had little chance of promotion, and of course he required to make  

     more money. But in the first year after our marriage he  

     overworked himself terribly. He had to undertake all sorts of  

     extra work, you know, and to slave early and late. He couldn't 

     stand it, and fell dangerously ill. Then the doctors declared he 

     must go to the South.  

   MRS. LINDEN. You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you?  

   NORA. Yes, we did. It wasn't easy to manage, I can tell you. It was  

     just after Ivar's birth. But of course we had to go. Oh, it was a  

     wonderful, delicious journey! And it saved Torvald's life. But it  

     cost a frightful lot of money, Christina.  

   MRS. LINDEN. So I should think.  

   NORA. Twelve hundred dollars! Four thousand eight hundred crowns! *  

     Isn't that a lot of money? 


   * The dollar (4s. 6d.) was the old unit of currency in Norway. 

The crown was substituted for it shortly before the date of this play.  


   MRS. LINDEN. How lucky you had the money to spend! 

   NORA. We got it from father, you must know.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Ah, I see. He died just about that time, didn't he? 

   NORA. Yes, Christina, just then. And only think! I couldn't go and 

     nurse him! I was expecting little Ivar's birth daily; and then I 

     had my poor sick Torvald to attend to. Dear, kind old father! I  

     never saw him again, Christina. Oh! that's the hardest thing I 

     have had to bear since my marriage.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I know how fond you were of him. But then you went to 


   NORA. Yes; you see, we had the money, and the doctors said we must 

     lose no time. We started a month later.  

   MRS. LINDEN. And your husband came back completely cured.  

   NORA. Sound as a bell. 

   MRS. LINDEN. But- the doctor?  

   NORA. What do you mean?  

   MRS. LINDEN. I thought as I came in your servant announced the 


   NORA. Oh, yes; Doctor Rank. But he doesn't come professionally. He 

     is our best friend, and never lets a day pass without looking in.  

     No, Torvald hasn't had an hour's illness since that time. And the  

     children are so healthy and well, and so am I. [Jumps up and 

     claps her hands.] Oh, Christina, Christina, what a wonderful 

     thing it is to live and to be happy!- Oh, but it's really too  

     horrid of me! Here am I talking about nothing but my own 

     concerns. [Seats herself upon a footstool close to CHRISTINA, and  

     lays her arms on her friend's lap.] Oh. don't be angry with me!  

     Now tell me, is it really true that you didn't love your husband?  

     What made you marry him, then? 

   MRS. LINDEN. My mother was still alive, you see, bedridden and 

     helpless; and then I had my two younger brothers to think of.  

     I didn't think it would be right for me to refuse him. 

   NORA. Perhaps it wouldn't have been. I suppose he was rich then? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Very well off, I believe. But his business was  

     uncertain. It fell to pieces at his death, and there was 

     nothing left.      

   NORA. And then-?     

   MRS. LINDEN. Then I had to fight my way by keeping a shop, a little  

     school, anything I could turn my hand to. The last three years 

     have been one long struggle for me. But now it is over, Nora. My 

     poor mother no longer needs me; she is at rest. And the boys are 

     in business, and can look after themselves.  

   NORA. How free your life must feel!  

   MRS. LINDEN. No, Nora; only inexpressibly empty. No one to live  

     for! [Stands up restlessly.] That's why I could not bear to stay 

     any longer in that out-of-the-way corner. Here it must be easier 

     to find something to take one up- to occupy one's thoughts. If I 

     could only get some settled employment- some office work.  

   NORA. But, Christina, that's such drudgery, and you look worn out  

     already. It would be ever so much better for you to go to some 

     watering-place and rest. 

   MRS. LINDEN [Going to the window.] I have no father to give me the 

     money, Nora.       

   NORA. [Rising.] Oh, don't be vexed with me.  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Going to her.] My dear Nora, don't you be vexed with 

     me. The worst of a position like mine is that it makes one so  

     bitter. You have no one to work for, yet you have to be always on  

     the strain. You must live; and so you become selfish. When I 

     heard of the happy change in your fortunes- can you believe it?- 

     I was glad for my own sake more than for yours.  

   NORA. How do you mean? Ah, I see! You think Torvald can perhaps do 

     something for you. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; I thought so.  

   NORA. And so he shall, Christina. Just you leave it all to me. I 

     shall lead up to it beautifully!- I shall think of some  

     delightful plan to put him in a good humour! Oh, I should so love  

     to help you.       

   MRS. LINDEN. How good of you, Nora, to stand by me so warmly!  

     Doubly good in you, who knows so little of the troubles and  

     burdens of life.   

   NORA. I? I know so little of-? 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Smiling.] Oh, well- a little fancy-work, and so  

     forth.- You're a child, Nora.  

   NORA. [Tosses her head and paces the room.] Oh, come, you mustn't  

     be so patronising! 

   MRS. LINDEN. No?     

   NORA. You're like the rest. You all think I'm fit for nothing  

     really serious-    

   MRS. LINDEN. Well, well- 

   NORA. You think I've had no troubles in this weary world.  

   MRS. LINDEN. My dear Nora, you've just told me all your troubles.  

   NORA. Pooh- those trifles! [Softly.] I haven't told you the great  


   MRS. LINDEN. The great thing? What do you mean?  

   NORA. I know you look down upon me, Christina; but you have no 

     right to. You are proud of having worked so hard and so long for 

     your mother.       

   MRS. LINDEN. I am sure I don't look down upon any one; but it's  

     true I am both proud and glad when I remember that I was able to 

     keep my mother's last days free from care. 

   NORA. And you're proud to think of what you have done for your 

     brothers, too.     

   MRS. LINDEN. Have I not the right to be? 

   NORA. Yes indeed. But now let me tell you, Christina- I, too, have 

     something to be proud and glad of. 

   MRS. LINDEN. I don't doubt it. But what do you mean? 

   NORA. Hush! Not so loud. Only think, if Torvald were to hear! He 

     mustn't- not for worlds! No one must know about it, Christina- no  

     one but you.       

   MRS LINDEN. Why, what can it be? 

   NORA. Come over here. [Draws her down beside her on the sofa.] Yes,  

     Christina- I, too, have something to be proud and glad of. I 

     saved Torvald's life.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Saved his life? How?  

   NORA. I told you about our going to Italy. Torvald would have died 

     but for that.      

   MRS. LINDEN. Well- and your father gave you the money. 

   NORA. [Smiling.] Yes, so Torvald and every one believes; but-  

   MRS. LINDEN. But-?   

   NORA. Papa didn't give us one penny. It was I that found the money.  

   MRS. LINDEN. You? All that money?  

   NORA. Twelve hundred dollars. Four thousand eight hundred crowns.  

     What do you say to that? 

   MRS. LINDEN. My dear Nora, how did you manage it? Did you win it in  

     the lottery?       

   NORA. [Contemptuosly.] In the lottery? Pooh! Any one could have  

     done that!         

   MRS. LINDEN. Then wherever did you get it from?  

   NORA. [Hums and smiles mysteriously.] H'm; tra-la-la-la! 

   MRS. LINDEN. Of course you couldn't borrow it. 

   NORA. No? Why not?   

   MRS. LINDEN. Why, a wife can't borrow without her husband's  


   NORA. [Tossing her head.] Oh! when the wife has some idea of 

     business, and knows how to set about things- 

   MRS. LINDEN. But, Nora, I don't understand-  

   NORA. Well, you needn't. I never said I borrowed the money. There  

     are many ways I may have got it. [Throws herself back on the 

     sofa.] I may have got it from some admirer. When one is so-  

     attractive as I am-  

   MRS. LINDEN. You're too silly, Nora. 

   NORA. Now I'm sure you're dying of curiosity, Christina- 

   MRS. LINDEN. Listen to me, Nora dear: haven't you been a little  


   NORA. [Sitting upright again.] Is it rash to save one's husband's  


   MRS. LINDEN. I think it was rash of you, without his knowledge-  

   NORA. But it would have been fatal for him to know! Can't you  

     understand that? He wasn't even to suspect how ill he was. The 

     doctors came to me privately and told me his life was in danger- 

     that nothing could save him but a winter in the South. Do you  

     think I didn't try diplomacy first? I told him how I longed to 

     have a trip abroad, like other young wives; I wept and prayed; I 

     said he ought to think of my condition, and not to thwart me; and  

     then I hinted that he could borrow the money. But then,  

     Christina, he got almost angry. He said I was frivolous, and that  

     it was his duty as a husband not to yield to my whims and  

     fancies- so he called them. Very well, thought I, but saved you  

     must be; and then I found the way to do it.  

   MRS. LINDEN. And did your husband never learn from your father that  

     the money was not from him?  

   NORA. No; never. Papa died at that very time. I meant to have told 

     him all about it, and begged him to say nothing. But he was so 

     ill- unhappily, it wasn't necessary. 

   MRS. LINDEN. And you have never confessed to your husband? 

   NORA. Good heavens! What can you be thinking of of? Tell him when  

     he has such a loathing of debt And besides- how painful and  

     humiliating it would he for Torvald, with his manly self-respect,  

     to know that he owed anything to me! It would utterly upset the  

     relation between us; our beautiful, happy home would never again 

     be what it is.     

   MRS. LINDEN. Will you never tell him?  

   NORA. [Thoughtfully, half-smiling.] Yes, some time perhaps- many,  

     many years hence, when I'm- not so pretty. You mustn't laugh at  

     me! Of course I mean when Torvald is not so much in love with me 

     as he is now; when it doesn't amuse him any longer to see me 

     dancing about, and dressing up and acting. Then it might be well 

     to have something in reserve. [Breaking off.] Nonsense! nonsense!  

     That time will never come. Now, what do you say to my grand  

     secret, Christina? Am I fit for nothing now? You may believe it  

     has cost me a lot of anxiety. It has been no joke to meet my 

     engagements punctually. You must know, Christina, that in  

     business there are things called instalments, and quarterly  

     interest, that are terribly hard to provide for. So I've had to  

     pinch a little here and there, wherever I could. I couldn't save 

     much out of the housekeeping, for of course Torvald had to live  

     well. And I couldn't let the children go about badly dressed; all  

     I got for them, I spent on them, the blessed darlings! 

   MRS. LINDEN. Poor Nora! So it had to come out of your own  


   NORA. Yes, of course. After all, the whole thing was my doing. When  

     Torvald gave me money for clothes, and so on, I never spent more 

     than half of it; I always bought the simplest and cheapest 

     things. It's a mercy that everything suits me so well- Torvald 

     never had any suspicions. But it was often very hard, Christina  

     dear. For it's nice to be beautifully dressed- now, isn't it?  

   MRS.LINDEN. Indeed it is.  

   NORA. Well, and besides that, I made money in other ways. Last 

     winter I was so lucky- I got a heap of copying to do. I shut 

     myself up every evening and wrote far into the night. Oh,  

     sometimes I was so tired, so tired. And yet it was splendid to 

     work in that way and earn money. I almost felt as if I was a man.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Then how much have you been able to pay off?  

   NORA. Well, I can't precisely say. It's difficult to keep that sort  

     of business clear. I only know that I've paid everything I could 

     scrape together. Sometimes I really didn't know where to turn. 

     [Smiles.] Then I used to sit here and pretend that a rich old  

     gentleman was in love with me- 

   MRS. LINDEN. What! gentleman?  

   NORA. Oh, nobody!- that he was dead now, and that when his will was  

     opened, there stood in large letters: "Pay over at once  

     everything of which I die possessed to that charming person, Mrs.  

     Nora Helmer."      

   MRS. LINDEN. But, my dear Nora- what gentleman do you mean?  

   NORA. Oh dear, can't you understand? There wasn't any old  

     gentleman: it was only what I used to dream and dream when I was 

     at my wits' end for money. But it doesn't matter now- the  

     tiresome old creature may stay where he is for me. I care nothing  

     for him or his will; for now my troubles are over. [Springing  

     up.] Oh, Christina, how glorious it is to think of! Free from all  

     anxiety! Free, quite free. To be able to play and romp about with  

     the children; to have things tasteful and pretty in the house, 

     exactly as Torvald likes it! And then the spring will soon be  

     here, with the great blue sky. Perhaps then we shall have a  

     little holiday. Perhaps I shall see the sea again. Oh, what a  

     wonderful thing it is to live and to be happy! 

                                           [The hall-door bell rings. 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Rising.] There's a ring. Perhaps I had better go.  

   NORA. No; do stay. No one will come here. It's sure to be some one 

     for Torvald.       

   ELLEN. [In the doorway.]  If you please, ma'am, there's a gentleman  

     to speak to Mr. Helmer.  

   NORA. Who is the gentleman?  

   KROGSTAD. [In the doorway.] It is I, Mrs. Helmer.  

                    [MRS. LINDEN starts and turns away to the window. 

   NORA. [Goes a step towards him, anxiously, speaking low.] You? What  

     is it? What do you want with my husband? 

   KROGSTAD. Bank business- in a way. I hold a small post in the Joint  

     Stock Bank, and your husband is to be our new chief, I hear. 

   NORA. Then it is-?   

   KROGSTAD. Only tiresome business, Mrs. Helmer; nothing more. 

   NORA. Then will you please go to his study.  

             [KROGSTAD goes. She bows indifferently while she closes  

              the door into the hall. Then she goes to the stove and  

              looks to the fire.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Nora- who was that man? 

   NORA. A Mr. Krogstad- a lawyer.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Then it was really he?  

   NORA. Do you know him? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I used to know him- many years ago. He was in a 

     lawyer's office in our town. 

   NORA. Yes, so he was.  

   MRS. LINDEN. How he has changed! 

   NORA. I believe his marriage was unhappy.  

   MRS. LINDEN. And he is a widower now?  

   NORA. With a lot of children. There! Now it will burn up. [She 

     closes the stove, and pushes the rocking-chair a little aside.]  

   MRS. LINDEN. His business is not of the most creditable, they say? 

   NORA. Isn't it? I daresay not. I don't know. But don't let us think  

     of business- it's so tiresome. 


                 DR. RANK comes out of HELMER'S room. 


   RANK. [Still in the doorway.] No, no; I'm in your way. I shall go  

     and have a chat with your wife. [Shuts the door and sees MRS.  

     LINDEN.] Oh, I beg your pardon. I'm in the way here too. 

   NORA. No, not in the least. [Introduces them.] Doctor Rank- Mrs. 


   RANK. Oh, indeed; I've often heard Mrs. Linden's name; I think I 

     passed you on the stairs as I came up. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; I go so very slowly. Stairs try me so much.  

   RANK. Ah- you are not very strong? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Only overworked.  

   RANK. Nothing more? Then no doubt you've come to town to find rest 

     in a round of dissipation? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I have come to look for employment. 

   RANK. Is that an approved remedy for overwork? 

   MRS. LINDEN. One must live, Doctor Rank. 

   RANK. Yes, that seems to be the general opinion. 

   NORA. Come, Doctor Rank- you want to live yourself.  

   RANK. To be sure I do. However wretched I may be, I want to drag on  

     as long as possible. All my patients, too, have the same mania.  

     And it's the same with people whose complaint is moral. At this  

     very moment Helmer is talking to just such a moral incurable-  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Softly.] Ah! 

   NORA. Whom do you mean?  

   RANK. Oh, a fellow named Krogstad, a man you know nothing about- 

     corrupt to the very core of his character. But even he began by  

     announcing, as a matter of vast importance, that he must live. 

   NORA. Indeed? And what did he want with Torvald? 

   RANK. I haven't an idea; I only gathered that it was some bank 


   NORA. I didn't know that Krog- that this Mr. Krogstad had anything 

     to do with the Bank? 

   RANK. Yes. He has got some sort of place there. [To MRS. LINDEN.]  

     I don't know whether in your part of the country, you have 

     people who go grubbing and sniffing around in search of moral  

     rottenness- and then, when they have found a "case," don't rest  

     till they have got their man into some good position, where they 

     can keep a watch upon him. Men with a clean bill of health they  

     leave out in the cold. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Well, I suppose the- delicate characters require most 


   RANK. [Shrugs his shoulders.] There we have it! It's that notion 

     that makes society a hospital. 

             [NORA, deep in her own thoughts, breaks into half-stifled  

              laughter and claps her hands. 

   RANK. Why do you laugh at that? Have you any idea what "society" 


   NORA. What do I care for your tiresome society? I was laughing at  

     something else- something excessively amusing. Tell me, Doctor 

     Rank, are all the employees at the Bank dependent on Torvald now?  

   RANK. Is that what strikes you as excessively amusing? 

   NORA. [Smiles and hums.] Never mind, never mind! [Walks about the  

     room.] Yes, it is funny to think that we- that Torvald has such  

     power over so many people. [Takes the bag from her pocket.]  

     Doctor Rank, will you have a macaroon? 

   RANK. What!- macaroons! I thought they were contraband here. 

   NORA. Yes; but Christina brought me these. 

   MRS. LINDEN. What! I-? 

   NORA. Oh, well! Don't be frightened. You couldn't possibly know  

     that Torvald had forbidden them. The fact is, he's afraid of me  

     spoiling my teeth. But, oh bother, just for once!- That's for  

     you, Doctor Rank! [Puts a macaroon into his mouth.] And you too, 

     Christina. And I'll have one while we're about it- only a tiny 

     one, or at most two. [Walks about again.] Oh dear, I am happy! 

     There's only one thing in the world I really want. 

   RANK. Well; what's that? 

   NORA. There's something I should so like to say- in Torvald's  


   RANK. Then why don't you say it? 

   NORA. Because I daren't, it's so ugly. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Ugly!   

   RANK. In that case you'd better not. But to us you might- What is  

     it you would so like to say in Helmer's hearing? 

   NORA. I should so love to say "Damn it all!" * 


   * "Dod og pine," literally "death and torture"; but by usage a 

comparatively mild oath.  


   RANK. Are you out of your mind?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Good gracious, Nora-! 

   RANK. Say it- there he is! 

   NORA. [Hides the macaroons.] Hush- sh- sh! 


           HELMER comes out of his room, hat in hand, with  

                       his overcoat on his arm. 


   NORA. [Going to him.] Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid of him? 

   HELMER. Yes; he has just gone. 

   NORA. Let me introduce you- this is Christina, who has come to 


   HELMER. Christina? Pardon me, I don't know-  

   NORA. Mrs. Linden, Torvald dear- Christina Linden. 

   HELMER. [To MRS. LINDEN.] Indeed! A school-friend of my wife's, no 


   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; we knew each other as girls. 

   NORA. And only think! she has taken this long journey on purpose to  

     speak to you.      

   HELMER. To speak to me!  

   MRS. LINDEN. Well, not quite-  

   NORA. You see, Christina is tremendously clever at office-work, and  

     she's so anxious to work under a first-rate man of business in 

     order to learn still more- 

   HELMER. [To MRS. LINDEN.] Very sensible indeed.  

   NORA. And when she heard you were appointed manager- 

     it was telegraphed, you know- she started off at once, and-  

     Torvald, dear, for my sake, you must do something for Christina. 

     Now can't you?     

   HELMER. It's not impossible. I presume Mrs. Linden is a widow? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes.    

   HELMER. And you have already had some experience of business?  

   MRS. LINDEN. A good deal.  

   HELMER. Well, then, it's very likely I may be able to find a place 

     for you.           

   NORA. [Clapping her hands.] There now! There now!  

   HELMER. You have come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. Linden.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Oh, how can I thank you-? 

   HELMER. [Smiling.] There is no occasion. [Puts on his overcoat.] 

     But for the present you must excuse me-  

   RANK. Wait; I am going with you. [Fetches his fur coat from the  

     hall and warms it at the fire.]  

   NORA. Don't be long, Torvald dear. 

   HELMER. Only an hour; not more.  

   NORA. Are you going too, Christina?  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Putting on her walking things.] Yes; I must set about  

     looking for lodgings.  

   HELMER. Then perhaps we can go together? 

   NORA. [Helping her.] What a pity we haven't a spare room for you;  

     but it's impossible- 

   MRS. LINDEN. I shouldn't think of troubling you. Good-bye, dear  

     Nora, and thank you for all your kindness. 

   NORA. Good-bye for the present. Of course you'll come back this  

     evening. And you, too, Doctor Rank. What! If you're well enough? 

     Of course you'll be well enough. Only wrap up warmly. [They go 

     out, talking, into the hall. Outside on the stairs are heard 

     children's voices.] There they are! There they are! [She runs to 

     the outer door and opens it. The nurse, ANNA, enters the hall  

     with the children.] Come in! Come in! [Stoops down and kisses the  

     children.] Oh, my sweet darlings! Do you see them, Christina?  

     Aren't they lovely?  

   RANK. Don't let us stand here chattering in the draught. 

   HELMER. Come, Mrs. Linden; only mothers can stand such a 


            [DR. RANK, HELMER, and MRS. LINDEN go down the stairs;  

             ANNA enters the room with the children; NORA also, 

             shutting the door. 

   NORA. How fresh and bright you look! And what red cheeks you've  

     got! Like apples and roses. [The children chatter to her during  

     what follows.] Have you had great fun? That's splendid! Oh,  

     really! You've been giving Emmy and Bob a ride on your sledge!-  

     both at once, only think, Why, you're quite a man, Ivar. Oh, give  

     her to me a little, Anna. My sweet little dolly! [Takes the  

     smallest from the nurse and dances with her.] Yes, yes; mother 

     will dance with Bob too. What! Did you have a game of snowballs? 

     Oh, I wish I'd been there. No; leave them, Anna; I'll take their 

     things off. Oh, yes, let me do it; it's such fun. Go to the  

     nursery; you look frozen. You'll find some hot coffee on the 


               [The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA takes  

                off the children's things and throws them down  

                anywhere, while the children talk all together. 

     Really! A big dog ran after you? But he didn't bite you? No; dogs  

     don't bite dear little dolly children. Don't peep into those 

     parcels, Ivar. What is it? Wouldn't you like to know? Take care- 

     it'll bite! What? Shall we have a game? What shall we play at? 

     Hide-and-seek? Yes, let's play hide-and-seek. Bob shall hide 

     first. Am I to? Yes, let me hide first.  

               [She and the children play, with laughter and shouting,  

                in the room and the adjacent one to the right. At last  

                NORA hides under the table; the children come rushing 

                in, look for her, but cannot find her, hear her 

                half-choked laughter, rush to the table, lift up the  

                cover and see her. Loud shouts. She creeps out, as  

                though to frighten them. Fresh shouts. Meanwhile there  

                has been a knock at the door leading into the hall. No  

                one has heard it. Now the door is half opened and 

                KROGSTAD appears. He waits a little; the game is  


   KROGSTAD. I beg your pardon, Mrs. Helmer-  

   NORA. [With a suppressed cry, turns round and half jumps up.] Ah!  

     What do you want?  

   KROGSTAD. Excuse me; the outer door was ajar- somebody must have 

     forgotten to shut it-  

   NORA. [Standing up.] My husband is not at home, Mr. Krogstad.  

   KROGSTAD. I know it. 

   NORA. Then what do you want here?  

   KROGSTAD. To say a few words to you. 

   NORA. To me? [To the children, softly.] Go in to Anna. What? No, 

     the strange man won't hurt mamma. When he's gone we'll go on 

     playing. [She leads the children into the left-hand room, and  

     shuts the door behind them. Uneasy, in suspense.] It is to me you  

     wish to speak?     

   KROGSTAD. Yes, to you. 

   NORA. To-day? But it's not the first yet-  

   KROGSTAD. No, to-day is Christmas Eve. It will depend upon yourself  

     whether you have a merry Christmas.  

   NORA. What do you want? I'm not ready to-day-  

   KROGSTAD. Never mind that just now. I have come about another  

     matter. You have a minute to spare?  

   NORA. Oh, yes, I suppose so; although- 

   KROGSTAD. Good. I was sitting in the restaurant opposite, and I saw  

     your husband go down the street- 

   NORA. Well?          

   KROGSTAD. -with a lady.  

   NORA. What then?     

   KROGSTAD. May I ask if the lady was a Mrs Linden?  

   NORA. Yes.           

   KROGSTAD. Who has just come to town? 

   NORA. Yes. To-day.   

   KROGSTAD. I believe she is an intimate friend of yours.  

   NORA. Certainly. But I don't understand- 

   KROGSTAD. I used to know her too.  

   NORA. I know you did.  

   KROGSTAD. Ah! You know all about it. I thought as much. Now, 

     frankly, is Mrs. Linden to have a place in the Bank? 

   NORA. How dare you catechise me in this way, Mr. Krogstad- you, a  

     subordinate of my husband's? But since you ask, you shall know.  

     Yes, Mrs. Linden is to be employed. And it is I who recommended  

     her, Mr. Krogstad. Now you know. 

   KROGSTAD. Then my guess was right. 

   NORA. [Walking up and down.] You see one has a wee bit of  

     influence, after all. It doesn't follow because one's only a 

     woman- When people are in a subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad,  

     they ought really to be careful how they offend anybody who- h'm-  

   KROGSTAD. -who has influence?  

   NORA. Exactly.       

   KROGSTAD. [Taking another tone.] Mrs. Helmer, will you have the  

     kindness to employ your influence on my behalf?  

   NORA. What? How do you mean? 

   KROGSTAD. Will you be so good as to see that I retain my 

     subordinate position in the Bank?  

   NORA. What do you mean? Who wants to take it from you? 

   KROGSTAD. Oh, you needn't pretend ignorance. I can very well 

     understand that it cannot be pleasant for your friend to meet  

     me; and I can also understand now for whose sake I am to be  

     hounded out.       

   NORA. But I assure you-  

   KROGSTAD. Come come now, once for all: there is time yet, and I  

     advise you to use your influence to prevent it.  

   NORA. But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence- absolutely none. 

   KROGSTAD. None? I thought you said a moment ago- 

   NORA. Of course not in that sense. I! How can you imagine that I 

     should have any such influence over my husband?  

   KROGSTAD. Oh, I know your husband from our college days. I don't 

     think he is any more inflexible than other husbands. 

   NORA. If you talk disrespectfully of my husband, I must request  

     you to leave the house.  

   KROGSTAD. You are bold, madam. 

   NORA. I am afraid of you no longer. When New Year's Day is over, 

     I shall soon be out of the whole business. 

   KROGSTAD. [Controlling himself.] Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer.  

     If need be, I shall fight as though for my life to keep  

     my little place in the Bank. 

   NORA. Yes, so it seems.  

   KROGSTAD. It's not only for the salary: that is what I care least  

     about. It's something else- Well, I had better make a clean  

     breast of it. Of course you know, like every one else, that some 

     years ago I- got into trouble. 

   NORA. I think I've heard something of the sort.  

   KROGSTAD. The matter never came into court; but from that moment 

     all paths were barred to me. Then I took up the business you know  

     about. I had to turn my hand to something; and I don't think I've  

     been one of the worst. But now I must get clear of it all. My  

     sons are growing up; for their sake I must try to recover my 

     character as well as I can. This place in the Bank was the first 

     step; and now your husband wants to kick me off the ladder, back 

     into the mire.     

   NORA. But I assure you, Mr. Krogstad, I haven't the least power to 

     help you.          

   KROGSTAD. That is because you have not the will; but I can compel  


   NORA. You won't tell my husband that I owe you money?  

   KROGSTAD. H'm; suppose I were to?  

   NORA. It would be shameful of you. [With tears in her voice.] The  

     secret that is my joy and my pride- that he should learn it in 

     such an ugly, coarse way- and from you. It would involve me in 

     all sorts of unpleasantness- 

   KROGSTAD. Only unpleasantness? 

   NORA. [Hotly.] But just do it. It's you that will come off worst,  

     for then my husband will see what a bad man you are, and then you  

     certainly won't keep your place. 

   KROGSTAD. I asked whether it was only domestic unpleasantness you  


   NORA. If my husband gets to know about it, he will of course pay 

     you off at once, and then we shall have nothing more to do with  


   KROGSTAD. [Coming a pace nearer.] Listen, Mrs. Helmer: either your 

     memory is defective, or you don't know much about business. I  

     must make the position a little clearer to you.  

   NORA. How so?        

   KROGSTAD. When your husband was ill, you came to me to borrow  

     twelve hundred dollars.  

   NORA. I knew of nobody else. 

   KROGSTAD. I promised to find you the money-  

   NORA. And you did find it. 

   KROGSTAD. I promised to find you the money, on certain conditions. 

     You were so much taken up at the time about your husband's 

     illness, and so eager to have the wherewithal for your journey,  

     that you probably did not give much thought to the details. Allow  

     me to remind you of them. I promised to find you the amount in 

     exchange for a note of hand, which I drew up.  

   NORA. Yes, and I signed it.  

   KROGSTAD. Quite right. But then I added a few lines, making your 

     father security for the debt. Your father was to sign this.  

   NORA. Was to-? He did sign it! 

   KROGSTAD. I had left the date blank. That is to say, your father 

     was himself to date his signature. Do you recollect that?  

   NORA. Yes, I believe-  

   KROGSTAD. Then I gave you the paper to send to your father, by 

     post. Is not that so?  

   NORA. Yes.           

   KROGSTAD.  And of course you did so at once; for within five or six  

     days you brought me back the document with your father's 

     signature; and I handed you the money. 

   NORA. Well? Have I not made my payments punctually?  

   KROGSTAD. Fairly- yes. But to return to the point: You were in 

     great trouble at the time, Mrs. Helmer.  

   NORA. I was indeed!  

   KROGSTAD. Your father was very ill, I believe? 

   NORA. He was on his death-bed. 

   KROGSTAD. And died soon after? 

   NORA. Yes.           

   KROGSTAD. Tell me, Mrs. Helmer: do you happen to recollect the day 

     of his death? The day of the month, I mean?  

   NORA. Father died on the 29th of September.  

   KROGSTAD. Quite correct. I have made inquiries. And here comes in  

     the remarkable point- [Produces a paper.] which I cannot explain.  

   NORA. What remarkable point? I don't know- 

   KROGSTAD. The remarkable point, madam, that your father signed this  

     paper three days after his death!  

   NORA. What! I don't understand-  

   KROGSTAD. Your father died on the 29th of September. But look here:  

     he has dated his signature October 2nd! Is not that remarkable,  

     Mrs. Helmer? [NORA is silent.] Can you explain it? [NORA 

     continues silent.] It is noteworthy, too, that the words 

     "October 2nd" and the year are not in your father's handwriting, 

     but in one which I believe I know. Well, this may be explained;  

     your father may have forgotten to date his signature, and  

     somebody may have added the date at random, before the fact of 

     your father's death was known. There is nothing wrong in that. 

     Everything depends on the signature. Of course it is genuine,  

     Mrs. Helmer? It was really your father himself who wrote his name  


   NORA. [After a short silence, throws her head back and looks 

     defiantly at him.] No, it was not. I wrote father's name.  

   KROGSTAD. Ah!- Are you aware, madam, that that is a dangerous  


   NORA. How so? You will soon get your money.  

   KROGSTAD. May I ask you one more question? Why did you not send the  

     paper to your father?  

   NORA. It was impossible. Father was ill. If I had asked him for his  

     signature, I should have had to tell him why I wanted the money; 

     but he was so ill I really could not tell him that my husband's  

     life was in danger. It was impossible. 

   KROGSTAD. Then it would have been better to have given up your 


   NORA. No, I couldn't do that; my husband's life depended on that 

     journey. I couldn't give it up.  

   KROGSTAD. And did it never occur to you that you were playing me 


   NORA. That was nothing to me. I didn't care in the least about you.  

     I couldn't endure you for all the cruel difficulties you made, 

     although you knew how ill my husband was.  

   KROGSTAD. Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise what you have  

     been guilty of. But I can assure you it was nothing more and 

     nothing worse that made me an outcast from society.  

   NORA. You! You want me to believe that you did a brave thing to  

     save your wife's life? 

   KROGSTAD. The law takes no account of motives. 

   NORA. Then it must be a very bad law.  

   KROGSTAD. Bad or not, if I produce this document in court, you will  

     be condemned according to law. 

   NORA. I don't believe that. Do you mean to tell me that a daughter 

     has no right to spare her dying father trouble and anxiety?- that  

     a wife has no right to save her husband's life? I don't know much  

     about the law, but I'm sure you'll find, somewhere or another, 

     that that is allowed. And you don't know that- you, a lawyer! You  

     must be a bad one, Mr. Krogstad. 

   KROGSTAD. Possibly. But business- such business as ours- I do  

     understand. You believe that? Very well; now do as you please. 

     But this I may tell you, that if I am flung into the gutter a  

     second time, you shall keep me company.  

                                     [Bows and goes out through hall. 

   NORA. [Stands a while thinking, then tosses her head.] Oh nonsense!  

     He wants to frighten me. I'm not so foolish as that. [Begins 

     folding the children's clothes. Pauses.] But-? No, it's  

     impossible! Why, I did it for love!  

   CHILDREN. [At the door, left.] Mamma, the strange man has gone now.  

   NORA. Yes, yes, I know. But don't tell any one about the strange 

     man. Do you hear? Not even papa! 

   CHILDREN. No, mamma; and now will you play with us again?  

   NORA. No, no; not now. 

   CHILDREN. Oh, do, mamma; you know you promised.  

   NORA. Yes, but I can't just now. Run to the nursery; I have so much  

     to do. Run along,- run along, and be good, my darlings! [She 

     pushes them gently into the inner room, and closes the door  

     behind them. Sits on the sofa, embroiders a few stitches, but  

     soon pauses.] No! [Throws down the work, rises, goes to the hall 

     door and calls out.] Ellen, bring in the Christmas-tree! [Goes to  

     table, left, and opens the drawer, again pauses.] No, it's quite 


   ELLEN. [With Christmas-tree.] Where shall I stand it, ma'am? 

   NORA. There, in the middle of the room.  

   ELLEN. Shall I bring in anything else? 

   NORA. No, thank you, I have all I want.  

                          [ELLEN, having put down the tree, goes out. 

   NORA. [Busy dressing the tree.] There must be a candle here- and 

     flowers there.- That horrible man! Nonsense, nonsense! there's 

     nothing to be afraid of. The Christmas-tree shall be beautiful.  

     I'll do everything to please you, Torvald; I'll sing and dance,- 


      Enter HELMER by the hall door, with a bundle of documents.  


   NORA. Oh! You're back already? 

   HELMER. Yes. Has anybody been here?  

   NORA. No.            

   HELMER. That's odd. I saw Krogstad come out of the house.  

   NORA. Did you? Oh, yes, by-the-bye, he was here for a minute.  

   HELMER. Nora, I can see by your manner that he has been begging you  

     to put in a good word for him. 

   NORA. Yes.           

   HELMER. And you were to do it as if of your own accord? You were to  

     say nothing to me of his having been here. Didn't he suggest that  


   NORA. Yes, Torvald; but- 

   HELMER. Nora, Nora! And you could condescend to that! To speak to  

     such a man, to make him a promise! And then to tell me an untruth  

     about it!          

   NORA. An untruth!    

   HELMER. Didn't you say that nobody had been here? [Threatens with  

     his finger.] My little bird must never do that again! A song-bird  

     must sing clear and true; no false notes. [Puts his arm round  

     her.] That's so, isn't it? Yes, I was sure of it. [Lets her go]  

     And now we'll say no more about it. [Sits down before the fire.] 

     Oh, how cosy and quiet it is here! [Glances into his documents.] 

   NORA. [Busy with the tree, after a short silence.] Torvald!  

   HELMER. Yes.         

   NORA. I'm looking forward so much to the Stenborgs' fancy ball 

     the day after to-morrow. 

   HELMER. And I'm on tenterhooks to see what surprise you have in  

     store for me.      

   NORA. Oh, it's too tiresome! 

   HELMER. What is?     

   NORA. I can't think of anything good. Everything seems so foolish  

     and meaningless.   

   HELMER. Has little Nora made that discovery? 

   NORA. [Behind his chair, with her arms on the back.] Are you very  

     busy, Torvald?     

   HELMER. Well-        

   NORA. What papers are those? 

   HELMER. Bank business. 

   NORA. Already!       

   HELMER. I have got the retiring manager to let me make some  

     necessary changes in the staff and the organization. I can do  

     this during Christmas week. I want to have everything straight 

     by the New Year.   

   NORA. Then that's why that poor Krogstad-  

   HELMER. H'm.         

   NORA. [Still leaning over the chair-back and slowly stroking his 

     hair.] If you hadn't been so very busy, I should have asked you a  

     great, great favour, Torvald.  

   HELMER. What can it be? Out with it. 

   NORA. Nobody has such perfect taste as you; and I should so love to  

     look well at the fancy ball. Torvald, dear, couldn't you take me 

     in hand, and settle what I'm to be, and arrange my costume for 


   HELMER. Aha! So my wilful little woman is at a loss, and making  

     signals of distress. 

   NORA. Yes, please, Torvald. I can't get on without your help.  

   HELMER. Well, well, I'll think it over, and we'll soon hit upon  


   NORA. Oh, how good that is of you! [Goes to the tree again; pause.]  

     How well the red flowers show.- Tell me, was it anything so very 

     dreadful this Krogstad got into trouble about? 

   HELMER. Forgery, that's all. Don't you know what that means? 

   NORA. Mayn't he have been driven to it by need?  

   HELMER. Yes; or, like so many others, he may have done it in pure  

     heedlessness. I am not so hard-hearted as to condemn a man 

     absolutely for a single fault. 

   NORA. No, surely not, Torvald! 

   HELMER. Many a man can retrieve his character, if he owns his crime  

     and takes the punishment.  

   NORA. Punishment-?   

   HELMER. But Krogstad didn't do that. He evaded the law by means of 

     tricks and subterfuges; and that is what has morally ruined him. 

   NORA. Do you think that-?  

   HELMER. Just think how a man with a thing of that sort on his  

     conscience must be always lying and canting and shamming. Think  

     of the mask he must wear even towards those who stand nearest  

     him- towards his own wife and children. The effect on the  

     children- that's the most terrible part of it, Nora. 

   NORA. Why?           

   HELMER. Because in such an atmosphere of lies home life is poisoned  

     and contaminated in every fibre. Every breath the children draw  

     contains some germ of evil.  

   NORA. [Closer behind him.] Are you sure of that? 

   HELMER. As a lawyer, my dear, I have seen it often enough. Nearly  

     all cases of early corruption may be traced to lying mothers.  

   NORA. Why- mothers?  

   HELMER. It generally comes from the mother's side; but of course 

     the father's influence may act in the same way. Every lawyer 

     knows it too well. And here has this Krogstad been poisoning his 

     own children for years past by a life of lies and hypocrisy- that  

     is why I call him morally ruined. [Holds out both hands to her.] 

     So my sweet little Nora must promise not to plead his cause. 

     Shake hands upon it. Come, come, what's this? Give me your hand. 

     That's right. Then it's a bargain. I assure you it would have  

     been impossible for me to work with him. It gives me a positive  

     sense of physical discomfort to come in contact with such people.  

               [NORA draws her hand away, and moves to the other side 

                of the Christmas-tree.  

   NORA. How warm it is here. And I have so much to do. 

   HELMER. [Rises and gathers up his papers.] Yes, and I must try to  

     get some of these papers looked through before dinner. And I 

     shall think over your costume too. Perhaps I may even find 

     something to hang in gilt paper on the Christmas-tree-. [Lays  

      his hand on her head.] My precious little song-bird!  

                           [He goes into his room and shuts the door. 

   NORA. [Softly, after a pause.] It can't be. It's impossible. It  

     must be impossible!  

   ANNA. [At the door, left.] The little ones are begging so prettily 

     to come to mamma.  

   NORA. No, no, no; don't let them come to me! Keep them with you, 


   ANNA. Very well, ma'am.                           [Shuts the door. 

   NORA. [Pale with terror.] Corrupt my children!- Poison my home!  

     [Short pause. She throws back her head.] It's not true! It can 

     never, never be true!  



                              ACT SECOND  


   The same room. In the corner, beside the piano, stands the 

Christmas-tree, stripped, and with the candles burnt out. NORA's  

outdoor things lie on the sofa. 

   NORA, alone, is walking about restlessly. At last she stops by 

the sofa, and takes up her cloak. 


   NORA. [Dropping the cloak.] There's somebody coming! [Goes to the  

     hall door and listens.] Nobody; of course nobody will come 

     to-day, Christmas-day; nor to-morrow either. But perhaps- [Opens 

     the door and looks out.]- No, nothing in the letter box; quite 

     empty. [Comes forward.] Stuff and nonsense! Of course he won't 

     really do anything. Such a thing couldn't happen. It's 

     impossible! Why, I have three little children. 


        ANNA enters from the left, with a large cardboard box.  


   ANNA. I've found the box with the fancy dress at last. 

   NORA. Thanks; put it down on the table.  

   ANNA. [Does so.] But I'm afraid it's very much out of order. 

   NORA. Oh, I wish I could tear it into a hundred thousand pieces! 

   ANNA. Oh, no. It can easily be put to rights- just a little  


   NORA. I shall go and get Mrs. Linden to help me. 

   ANNA. Going out again? In such weather as this! You'll catch cold, 

     ma'am, and be ill.           

   NORA. Worse things might happen.- What are the children doing? 

   ANNA. They're playing with their Christmas presents, poor little 

     dears; but-                  

   NORA. Do they often ask for me?  

   ANNA. You see they've been so used to having their mamma with them.  

   NORA. Yes; but, Anna, I can't have them so much with me in future. 

   ANNA. Well, little children get used to anything.  

   NORA. Do you think they do? Do you believe they would forget their 

     mother if she went quite away? 

   ANNA. Gracious me! Quite away? 

   NORA. Tell me, Anna- I've so often wondered about it- how could you  

     bring yourself to give your child up to strangers? 

   ANNA. I had to when I came to nurse my little Miss Nora. 

   NORA. But how could you make up your mind to it? 

   ANNA. When I had the chance of such a good place? A poor girl who's  

     been in trouble must take what comes. That wicked man did nothing  

     for me.            

   NORA. But your daughter must have forgotten you. 

   ANNA. Oh, no, ma'am, that she hasn't. She wrote to me both when she  

     was confirmed and when she was married.  

   NORA. [Embracing her.] Dear old Anna- you were a good mother to me 

     when I was little. 

   ANNA. My poor little Nora had no mother but me.  

   NORA. And if my little ones had nobody else, I'm sure you would- 

     Nonsense, nonsense! [Opens the box.] Go in to the children. Now I  

     must- You'll see how lovely I shall be to-morrow.  

   ANNA. I'm sure there will be no one at the ball so lovely as my  

     Miss Nora.         

                                 [She goes into the room on the left. 

   NORA. [Takes the costume out of the box, but soon throws it down 

     again.] Oh, if I dared go out. If only nobody would come. If only  

     nothing would happen here in the meantime. Rubbish; nobody is  

     coming. Only not to think. What a delicious muff! Beautiful  

     gloves, beautiful gloves! To forget- to forget! One, two, three, 

     four, five, six- [With a scream.] Ah, there they come. 

                      [Goes towards the door, then stands irresolute. 


           MRS. LINDEN enters from the hall, where she has  

                        taken off her things. 


   NORA. Oh, it's you, Christina. There's nobody else there? I'm so 

     glad you have come.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I hear you called at my lodgings. 

   NORA. Yes, I was just passing. There's something you must help me  

     with. Let us sit here on the sofa so. To-morrow evening there's  

     to be a fancy ball at Consul Stenborg's overhead, and Torvald  

     wants me to appear as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the  

     tarantella; I learned it at Capri. 

   MRS. LINDEN. I see- quite a performance. 

   NORA. Yes, Torvald wishes it. Look, this is the costume; Torvald 

     had it made for me in Italy. But now it's all so torn, I don't 


   MRS. LINDEN. Oh, we shall soon set that to rights. It's only the 

     trimming that has come loose here and there. Have you a needle 

     and thread? Ah, here's the very thing. 

   NORA. Oh, how kind of you. 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Sewing.] So you're to be in costume to-morrow, Nora? 

     I'll tell you what- I shall come in for a moment to see you in 

     all your glory. But I've quite forgotten to thank you for the  

     pleasant evening yesterday.  

   NORA. [Rises and walks across the room.] Oh, yesterday, it didn't  

     seem so pleasant as usual.- You should have come to town a little  

     sooner, Christina.- Torvald has certainly the art of making home 

     bright and beautiful.  

   MRS. LINDEN. You too, I should think, or you wouldn't be your  

     father's daughter. But tell me- is Doctor Rank always so 

     depressed as he was last evening?  

   NORA. No, yesterday it was particularly noticeable. You see, he  

     suffers from a dreadful illness. He has spinal consumption,  

     poor fellow. They say his father was a horrible man, who kept  

     mistresses and all sorts of things- so the son has been sickly 

     from his childhood, you understand.  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Lets her sewing fall into her lap.] Why, my darling  

     Nora, how do you come to know such things? 

   NORA. [Moving about the room.] Oh, when one has three children, one  

     sometimes has visits from women who are half- half doctors- and  

     they talk of one thing and another.  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Goes on sewing; a short pause.] Does Doctor Rank come  

     here every day?    

   NORA. Every day of his life. He has been Torvald's most intimate 

     friend from boyhood, and he's a good friend of mine too. Doctor  

     Rank is quite one of the family. 

   MRS. LINDEN. But tell me- is he quite sincere? I mean, isn't he  

     rather given to flattering people? 

   NORA. No, quite the contrary. Why should you think so? 

   MRS. LINDEN. When you introduced us yesterday he said he had often 

     heard my name; but I noticed afterwards that your husband had no 

     notion who I was. How could Doctor Rank-?  

   NORA. He was quite right, Christina. You see, Torvald loves me so  

     indescribably, he wants to have me all to himself, as he says. 

     When we were first married he was almost jealous if I even 

     mentioned any of my old friends at home; so naturally I gave up  

     doing it. But I often talk of the old times to Doctor Rank, for  

     he likes to hear about them. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Listen to me, Nora! You are still a child in many 

     ways. I am older than you, and have had more experience. I'll  

     tell you something? You ought to get clear of all this with Dr.  


   NORA. Get clear of what? 

   MRS. LINDEN. The whole affair, I should say. You were talking  

     yesterday of a rich admirer who was to find you money- 

   NORA. Yes, one who never existed, worse luck. What then? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Has Doctor Rank money?  

   NORA. Yes, he has.   

   MRS. LINDEN. And nobody to provide for?  

   NORA. Nobody. But-?  

   MRS. LINDEN. And he comes here every day?  

   NORA. Yes, I told you so.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I should have thought he would have had better taste. 

   NORA. I don't understand you a bit.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Don't pretend, Nora. Do you suppose I can't guess who 

     lent you the twelve hundred dollars? 

   NORA. Are you out of your senses? How can you think such a thing? A  

     friend who comes here every day! Why, the position would be  


   MRS. LINDEN. Then it really is not he? 

   NORA. No, I assure you. It never for a moment occurred to me-  

     Besides, at that time he had nothing to lend; he came into his 

     property afterwards. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Well, I believe that was lucky for you, Nora dear.  

   NORA. No, really, it would never have struck me to ask Dr. Rank- 

     And yet, I'm certain that if I did-  

   MRS. LINDEN. But of course you never would.  

   NORA. Of course not. It's inconceivable that it should ever be 

     necessary. But I'm quite sure that if I spoke to Doctor Rank-  

   MRS. LINDEN. Behind your husband's back? 

   NORA. I must get clear of the other thing; that's behind his back  

     too. I must get clear of that. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes, I told you so yesterday; but- 

   NORA. [Walking up and down.] A man can manage these things much  

     better than a woman. 

   MRS. LINDEN. One's own husband, yes. 

   NORA. Nonsense. [Stands still.] When everything is paid, one gets  

     back the paper.    

   MRS. LINDEN. Of course.  

   NORA. And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, and burn it  

     up, the nasty, filthy thing! 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Looks at her fixedly, lays down her work, and rises  

     slowly.] Nora, you are hiding something from me. 

   NORA. Can you see it in my face? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Something has happened since yesterday morning. Nora, 

     what is it?        

   NORA. [Going towards her.] Christina-! [Listens.] Hush! There's  

     Torvald coming home. Do you mind going into the nursery for the  

     present? Torvald can't bear to see dressmaking going on. Get Anna  

     to help you.       

   MRS. LINDEN. [Gathers some of the things together.] Very well; but 

     I shan't go away until you have told me all about it.  

               [She goes out to the left, as HELMER enters from the 


   NORA. [Runs to meet him.] Oh, how I've been longing for you to 

     come, Torvald dear!  

   HELMER. Was that the dressmaker-?  

   NORA. No, Christina. She's helping me with my costume. You'll see  

     how nice I shall look. 

   HELMER. Yes, wasn't that a happy thought of mine?  

   NORA. Splendid! But isn't it good of me, too, to have given in to  

     you about the tarantella?  

   HELMER. [Takes her under the chin.] Good of you! To give in to your  

     own husband? Well well, you little madcap, I know you don't mean 

     it. But I won't disturb you. I daresay you want to be "trying  


   NORA. And you are going to work, I suppose?  

   HELMER. Yes. [Shows her a bundle of papers.] Look here. I've just  

     come from the Bank-  

                                              [Goes towards his room. 

   NORA. Torvald.       

   HELMER. [Stopping.] Yes? 

   NORA. If your little squirrel were to beg you for something so 


   HELMER. Well?        

   NORA. Would you do it? 

   HELMER. I must know first what it is.  

   NORA. The squirrel would skip about and play all sorts of tricks if  

     you would only be nice and kind. 

   HELMER. Come, then, out with it. 

   NORA. Your lark would twitter from morning till night- 

   HELMER. Oh, that she does in any case. 

   NORA. I'll be an elf and dance in the moonlight for you, Torvald.  

   HELMER. Nora- you can't mean what you were hinting at this morning?  

   NORA. [Coming nearer.] Yes, Torvald, I beg and implore you!  

   HELMER. Have you really the courage to begin that again? 

   NORA. Yes, yes; for my sake, you must let Krogstad keep his place  

     in the Bank.       

   HELMER. My dear Nora, it's his place I intend for Mrs. Linden. 

   NORA. Yes, that's so good of you. But instead of Krogstad, you 

     could dismiss some other clerk.  

   HELMER. Why, this is incredible obstinacy! Because you have  

     thoughtlessly promised to put in a word for him, I am to-! 

   NORA. It's not that, Torvald. It's for your own sake. This man 

     writes for the most scurrilous newspapers; you said so yourself. 

     He can do you no end of harm. I'm so terribly afraid of him- 

   HELMER. Ah, I understand; it's old recollections that are  

     frightening you.   

   NORA. What do you mean?  

   HELMER. Of course you're thinking of your father.  

   NORA. Yes- yes, of course. Only think of the shameful slanders 

     wicked people used to write about father. I believe they would 

     have got him dismissed if you hadn't been sent to look into the  

     thing, and been kind to him, and helped him. 

   HELMER. My little Nora, between your father and me there is all the  

     difference in the world. Your father was not altogether  

     unimpeachable. I am; and I hope to remain so.  

   NORA. Oh, no one knows what wicked men may hit upon. We could live 

     so quietly and happily now, in our cosy, peaceful home, you and I  

     and the children, Torvald! That's why I beg and implore you- 

   HELMER. And it is just by pleading his cause that you make it  

     impossible for me to keep him. It's already known at the Bank  

     that I intend to dismiss Krogstad. If it were now reported that  

     the new manager let himself be turned round his wife's little  


   NORA. What then?     

   HELMER. Oh, nothing, so long as a wilful woman can have her way-!  

     I am to make myself a laughing-stock to the whole staff, and set 

     people saying that I am open to all sorts of outside influence?  

     Take my word for it, I should soon feel the consequences. And  

     besides there is one thing that makes Krogstad impossible for me 

     to work with-      

   NORA. What thing?    

   HELMER. I could perhaps have overlooked his moral failings at a  


   NORA. Yes, couldn't you, Torvald?  

   HELMER. And I hear he is good at his work. But the fact is, he was 

     a college chum of mine- there was one of those rash friendships  

     between us that one so often repents of later. I may as well 

     confess it at once- he calls me by my Christian name; * and he is  

     tactless enough to do it even when others are present. He  

     delights in putting on airs of familiarity- Torvald here, Torvald  

     there! I assure you it's most painful to me. He would make my  

     position at the Bank perfectly unendurable.  


   * In the original, "We say 'thou' to each other."  


   NORA. Torvald, surely you're not serious?  

   HELMER. No? Why not? 

   NORA. That's such a petty reason.  

   HELMER. What! Petty! Do you consider me petty! 

   NORA. No, on the contrary, Torvald dear; and that's just why-  

   HELMER. Never mind; you call my motives petty; then I must be petty  

     too. Petty! Very well!- Now we'll put an end to this, once for 

     all. [Goes to the door into the hall and calls.] Ellen!  

   NORA. What do you want?  

   HELMER. [Searching among his papers.] To settle the thing. [ELLEN  

     enters.] Here; take this letter; give it to a messenger. See that  

     he takes it at once. The address is on it. Here's the money. 

   ELLEN. Very well, sir. 

                                               [Goes with the letter. 

   HELMER. [Putting his papers together.] There, Madam Obstinacy. 

   NORA. [Breathless.] Torvald- what was in the letter? 

   HELMER. Krogstad's dismissal.  

   NORA. Call it back again, Torvald! There's still time. Oh, Torvald,  

     call it back again! For my sake, for your own, for the children's  

     sake! Do you hear, Torvald? Do it! You don't know what that  

     letter may bring upon us all.  

   HELMER. Too late.    

   NORA. Yes, too late. 

   HELMER. My dear Nora, I forgive your anxiety, though it's anything 

     but flattering to me. Why should you suppose that I would be 

     afraid of a wretched scribbler's spite? But I forgive you all the  

     same, for it's a proof of your great love for me. [Takes her in  

     his arms.] That's as it should be, my own dear Nora. Let what  

     will happen- when it comes to the pinch, I shall have strength 

     and courage enough. You shall see: my shoulders are broad enough 

     to bear the whole burden.  

   NORA. [Terror-struck.] What do you mean by that? 

   HELMER. The whole burden, I say- 

   NORA. [With decision.] That you shall never, never do! 

   HELMER. Very well; then we'll share it, Nora, as man and wife. That  

     is how it should be. [Petting her.] Are you satisfied now? Come, 

     come, come, don't look like a scared dove. It's all nothing- 

     foolish fancies.- Now you ought to play the tarantella through 

     and practise with the tambourine. I shall sit in my inner room 

     and shut both doors, so that I shall hear nothing. as much noise 

     as you please. [Turns round in doorway.] And when Rank comes,  

     just tell him where I'm to be found. 

               [He nods to her, and goes with his papers into his 

                room, closing the door. 

   NORA. [Bewildered with terror, stands as though rooted to the  

     ground, and whispers.] He would do it. Yes, he would do it. He 

     would do it, in spite of all the world.- No, never that, never,  

     never! Anything rather than that! Oh, for some way of escape!  

     What shall I do-! [Hall bell rings.] Doctor Rank-!- Anything,  

     anything, rather than-!  

               [NORA draws her hands over her face, pulls herself 

                together, goes to the door and opens it. RANK stands  

                outside hanging up his fur coat. During what follows  

                it begins to grow dark. 

   NORA. Good afternoon, Doctor Rank, I knew you by your ring. But you  

     mustn't go to Torvald now. I believe he's busy.  

   RANK. And you?       


                     Enters and closes the door.  


   NORA. Oh, you know very well, I have always time for you.  

   RANK. Thank you. I shall avail myself of your kindness as long as I  


   NORA. What do you mean? As long as you can?  

   RANK. Yes. Does that frighten you? 

   NORA. I think it's an odd expression. Do you expect anything to  


   RANK. Something I have long been prepared for; but I didn't think  

     it would come so soon. 

   NORA. [Catching at his arm.] What have you discovered? Doctor Rank,  

     you must tell me!  

   RANK. [Sitting down by the stove.] I am running down hill. There's 

     no help for it.    

   NORA. [Draws a long breath of relief.] It's you-?  

   RANK. Who else should it be?- Why lie to one's self? I am the most 

     wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. In these last days I 

     have been auditing my life-account- bankrupt! Perhaps before a 

     month is over, I shall lie rotting in the church-yard. 

   NORA. Oh! What an ugly way to talk.  

   RANK. The thing itself is so confoundedly ugly, you see. But the 

     worst of it is, so many other ugly things have to be gone through  

     first. There is only one last investigation to be made, and when 

     that is over I shall know pretty certainly when the break-up will  

     begin. There's one thing I want to say to you: Helmer's delicate 

     nature shrinks so from all that is horrible: I will not have him 

     in my sick-room-   

   NORA. But, Doctor Rank-  

   RANK. I won't have him, I say- not on any account! I shall lock my 

     door against him.- As soon as I am quite certain of the worst, I 

     shall send you my visiting-card with a black cross on it; and  

     then you will know that the final horror has begun.  

   NORA. Why, you're perfectly unreasonable to-day; and I did so want 

     you to be in a really good humour. 

   RANK. With death staring me in the face?- And to suffer thus for 

     another's sin! Where's the justice of it? And in one way or  

     another you can trace in every family some such inexorable 


   NORA. [Stopping her ears.] Nonsense, nonsense! Now cheer up! 

   RANK. Well, after all, the whole thing's only worth laughing at. My  

     poor innocent spine must do penance for my father's wild oats. 

   NORA. [At table, left.] I suppose he was too fond of asparagus and 

     Strasbourg pate, wasn't he?  

   RANK. Yes; and truffles. 

   NORA. Yes, truffles, to be sure. And oysters, I believe? 

   RANK. Yes, oysters; oysters, of course.  

   NORA. And then all the port and champagne! It's sad that all these 

     good things should attack the spine. 

   RANK. Especially when the luckless spine attacked never had any  

     good of them.      

   NORA. Ah, yes, that's the worst of it. 

   RANK. [Looks at her searchingly.] H'm- 

   NORA. [A moment later.] Why did you smile? 

   RANK. No; it was you that laughed. 

   NORA. No; it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank. 

   RANK. [Standing up.] I see you're deeper than I thought. 

   NORA. I'm in such a crazy mood to-day. 

   RANK. So it seems.   

   NORA. [With her hands on his shoulders.] Dear, dear Doctor Rank, 

     death shall not take you away from Torvald and me. 

   RANK. Oh, you'll easily get over the loss. The absent are soon 


   NORA. [Looks at him anxiously.] Do you think so? 

   RANK. People make fresh ties, and then-  

   NORA. Who make fresh ties? 

   RANK. You and Helmer will,- when I am gone. You yourself are taking  

     time by the forelock, it seems to me. What was that Mrs. Linden  

     doing here yesterday?  

   NORA. Oh!- you're surely not jealous of poor Christina?  

   RANK. Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this house. When I am 

     out of the way, this woman will perhaps- 

   NORA. Hush! Not so loud! She's in there. 

   RANK. To-day as well? You see! 

   NORA. Only to put my costume in order- dear me, how unreasonable 

     you are! [Sits on sofa.] Now do be good, Doctor Rank! To-morrow  

     you shall see how beautifully I shall dance; and then you may  

     fancy that I'm doing it all to please you- and of course Torvald 

     as well. [Takes various things out of box.] Doctor Rank, sit down  

     here, and I'll show you something. 

   RANK. [Sitting.] What is it? 

   NORA. Look here. Look! 

   RANK. Silk stockings.  

   NORA. Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It's so dark here now; 

     but to-morrow- No, no, no; you must only look at the feet. Oh, 

     well, I suppose you may look at the rest too.  

   RANK. H'm-           

   NORA. What are you looking so critical about? Do you think they  

     won't fit me?      

   RANK. I can't possibly give any competent opinion on that point. 

   NORA. Looking at him a moment.] For shame! [Hits him lightly on the  

     ear with the stockings.] Take that.  

                                                [Rolls them up again. 

   RANK. And what other wonders am I to see?  

   NORA. You sha'n't see anything more; for you don't behave nicely.  

                    [She hums a little and searches among the things. 

   RANK. [After a short silence.] When I sit here gossiping with you, 

     I can't imagine- I simply cannot conceive- what would have become  

     of me if I had never entered this house. 

   NORA. [Smiling.] Yes, I think you do feel at home with us. 

   RANK. [More softly- looking straight before him.] And now to have  

     to leave it all-   

   NORA. Nonsense. You sha'n't leave us.  

   RANK. [In the same tone.] And not to be able to leave behind the 

     slightest token of gratitude; scarcely even a passing regret-  

     nothing but an empty place, that can be filled by the first  


   NORA. And if I were to ask you for-? No- 

   RANK. For what?      

   NORA. For a great proof of your friendship.  

   RANK. Yes- yes?      

   NORA. I mean- for a very, very great service-  

   RANK. Would you really, for once, make me so happy?  

   NORA. Oh, you don't know what it is. 

   RANK. Then tell me.  

   NORA. No, I really can't, Doctor Rank. It's far, far too much- not 

     only a service, but help and advice besides- 

   RANK. So much the better. I can't think what you can mean. But go  

     on. Don't you trust me?  

   NORA. As I trust no one else. I know you are my best and truest  

     friend. So I will tell you. Well then, Doctor Rank, there is 

     something you must help me to prevent. You know how deeply, how  

     wonderfully Torvald loves me; he wouldn't hesitate a moment to 

     give his very life for my sake.  

   RANK. [Bending towards her.] Nora- do you think he is the only one 


   NORA. [With a slight start.] Who-? 

   RANK. Who would gladly give his life for you?  

   NORA. [Sadly.] Oh!   

   RANK. I have sworn that you shall know it before I- go. I shall  

     never find a better opportunity.- Yes, Nora, now I have told you;  

     and now you know that you can trust me as you can no one else. 

   NORA. [Standing up; simply and calmly.] Let me pass, please. 

   RANK. [Makes way for her, but remains sitting.] Nora-  

   NORA. [In the doorway.] Ellen, bring the lamp. [Crosses to the 

     stove.] Oh dear, Doctor Rank, that was too bad of you. 

   RANK. [Rising.] That I have loved you as deeply as- any one else?  

     Was that too bad of me?  

   NORA. No, but that you should have told me so. It was so 


   RANK. What do you mean? Did you know-? 


           ELLEN enters with the lamp; sets it on the table 

                         and goes out again.  


   RANK. Nora- Mrs. Helmer- I ask you, did you know?  

   NORA. Oh, how can I tell what I knew or didn't know? I really can't  

     say- How could you be so clumsy, Doctor Rank? It was all so nice!  

   RANK. Well, at any rate, you know now that I am at your service, 

     body and soul. And now, go on. 

   NORA. [Looking at him.] Go on- now?  

   RANK. I beg you to tell me what you want.  

   NORA. I can tell you nothing now.  

   RANK. Yes, yes! You mustn't punish me in that way. Let me do for 

     you whatever a man can.  

   NORA. You can do nothing for me now.- Besides, I really want no  

     help. You shall see it was only my fancy. Yes, it must be so. Of 

     course! [Sits in the rocking-chair, looks at him and smiles.] You  

     are a nice person, Doctor Rank! Aren't you ashamed of yourself,  

     now that the lamp is on the table? 

   RANK. No; not exactly. But perhaps I ought to go- for ever.  

   NORA. No, indeed you mustn't. Of course you must come and go as  

     you've always done. You know very well that Torvald can't do 

     without you.       

   RANK. Yes, but you?  

   NORA. Oh, you know I always like to have you here. 

   RANK. That is just what led me astray. You are a riddle to me. It  

     has often seemed to me as if you liked being with me almost as 

     much as being with Helmer. 

   NORA. Yes; don't you see? There are people one loves, and others 

     one likes to talk to.  

   RANK. Yes- there's something in that.  

   NORA. When I was a girl, of course I loved papa best. But it always  

     delighted me to steal into the servants' room. In the first place  

     they never lectured me, and in the second it was such fun to hear  

     them talk.         

   RANK. Ah, I see; then it's their place I have taken? 

   NORA. [Jumps up and hurries towards him.] Oh, my dear Doctor Rank, 

     I don't mean that. But you understand, with Torvald it's the same  

     as with papa-      


                     ELLEN enters from the hall.  


   ELLEN. Please, ma'am- [Whispers to NORA, and gives her a card.]  

   NORA. [Glancing at card.] Ah!  

                                              [Puts it in her pocket. 

   RANK. Anything wrong?  

   NORA. No, no, not in the least. It's only- it's my new costume-  

   RANK. Your costume! Why, it's there. 

   NORA. Oh, that one, yes. But this is another that- I have ordered  

     it- Torvald mustn't know-  

   RANK. Aha! So that's the great secret. 

   NORA. Yes, of course. Please go to him; he's in the inner room. Do 

     keep him while I-  

   RANK. Don't be alarmed; he sha'n't escape. 

                                       [RANK goes into HELMER's room. 

   NORA. [To ELLEN.] Is he waiting in the kitchen?  

   ELLEN. Yes, he came up the back stair- 

   NORA. Didn't you tell him I was engaged? 

   ELLEN. Yes, but it was no use. 

   NORA. He won't go away?  

   ELLEN. No, ma'am, not until he has spoken to you.  

   NORA. Then let him come in; but quietly. And, Ellen- say nothing 

     about it; it's a surprise for my husband.  

   ELLEN. Oh, yes, ma'am, I understand. 

                                                        [She goes out.  

   NORA. It is coming! The dreadful thing is coming, after all. No, 

     no, no, it can never be; it shall not! 

               [She goes to HELMER'S door and slips the bolt. ELLEN 

                opens the hall door for KROGSTAD, and shuts it after  

                him. He wears a travelling-coat, high boots, and a fur  


   NORA. [Goes towards him.] Speak softly; my husband is at home. 

   KROGSTAD. All right. That's nothing to me. 

   NORA. What do you want?  

   KROGSTAD. A little information.  

   NORA. Be quick, then. What is it?  

   KROGSTAD. You know I have got my dismissal.  

   NORA. I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought for you to the 

     last, but it was of no use.  

   KROGSTAD. Does your husband care for you so little? He knows what I  

     can bring upon you, and yet he dares-  

   NORA. How could you think I should tell him? 

   KROGSTAD. Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't think it. It wasn't  

     like my friend Torvald Helmer to show so much courage- 

   NORA. Mr. Krogstad, be good enough to speak respectfully of my 


   KROGSTAD. Certainly, with all due respect. But since you are so  

     anxious to keep the matter secret, I suppose you are a little  

     clearer than yesterday as to what you have done. 

   NORA. Clearer than you could ever make me. 

   KROGSTAD. Yes, such a bad lawyer as I- 

   NORA. What is it you want? 

   KROGSTAD. Only to see how you are getting on, Mrs. Helmer. I've  

     been thinking about you all day. Even a mere money-lender, a 

     gutter-journalist, a- in short, a creature like me- has a little 

     bit of what people call feeling. 

   NORA. Then show it; think of my little children. 

   KROGSTAD. Did you and your husband think of mine? But enough of  

     that. I only wanted to tell you that you needn't take this matter  

     too seriously. I shall not lodge any information, for the  


   NORA. No, surely not. I knew you wouldn't. 

   KROGSTAD. The whole thing can be settled quite amicably. Nobody  

     need know. It can remain among us three. 

   NORA. My husband must never know.  

   KROGSTAD. How can you prevent it? Can you pay off the balance? 

   NORA. No, not at once. 

   KROGSTAD. Or have you any means of raising the money in the next 

     few days?          

   NORA. None- that I will make use of. 

   KROGSTAD. And if you had, it would not help you now. If you offered  

     me ever so much money down, you should not get back your I.O.U.  

   NORA. Tell me what you want to do with it. 

   KROGSTAD. I only want to keep it- to have it in my possession. No  

     outsider shall hear anything of it. So, if you have any desperate  

     scheme in your head- 

   NORA. What if I have?  

   KROGSTAD. If you should think of leaving your husband and children-  

   NORA. What if I do?  

   KROGSTAD. Or if you should think of- something worse-  

   NORA. How do you know that?  

   KROGSTAD. Put all that out of your head. 

   NORA. How did you know what I had in my mind?  

   KROGSTAD. Most of us think of that at first. I thought of it, too; 

     but I hadn't the courage-  

   NORA. [Tonelessly.] Nor I. 

   KROGSTAD. [Relieved.] No, one hasn't. You haven't the courage  

     either, have you?  

   NORA. I haven't, I haven't.  

   KROGSTAD. Besides, it would be very foolish.- Just one domestic  

     storm, and it's all over. I have a letter in my pocket for your  


   NORA. Telling him everything?  

   KROGSTAD. Sparing you as much as possible. 

   NORA. [Quickly.] He must never read that letter. Tear it up. I will  

     manage to get the money somehow- 

   KROGSTAD. Pardon me, Mrs. Helmer, but I believe I told you-  

   NORA. Oh, I'm not talking about the money I owe you. Tell me how 

     much you demand from my husband- I will get it.  

   KROGSTAD. I demand no money from your husband. 

   NORA. What do you demand then? 

   KROGSTAD. I will tell you. I want to regain my footing in the  

     world. I want to rise; and your husband shall help me to do it.  

     For the last eighteen months my record has been spotless; I have 

     been in bitter need all the time; but I was content to fight my  

     way up, step by step. Now, I've been thrust down again, and I  

     will not be satisfied with merely being reinstated as a matter of  

     grace. I want to rise, I tell you. I must get into the Bank  

     again, in a higher position than before. Your husband shall  

     create a place on purpose for me-. 

   NORA. He will never do that! 

   KROGSTAD. He will do it; I know him- he won't dare to show fight!  

     And when he and I are together there, you shall soon see! Before 

     a year is out I shall be the manager's right hand. It won't be 

     Torvald Helmer, but Nils Krogstad, that manages the Joint Stock  


   NORA. That shall never be. 

   KROGSTAD. Perhaps you will-? 

   NORA. Now I have the courage for it. 

   KROGSTAD. Oh, you don't frighten me! A sensitive, petted creature  

     like you-          

   NORA. You shall see, you shall see!  

   KROGSTAD. Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, black water? 

     And next spring to come up again, ugly, hairless, unrecognisable-  

   NORA. You can't terrify me.  

   KROGSTAD. Nor you me. People don't do that sort of thing, Mrs. 

     Helmer. And, after all, what would be the use of it? I have your 

     husband in my pocket, all the same.  

   NORA. Afterwards? When I am no longer-?  

   KROGSTAD. You forget, your reputation remains in my hands! [NORA 

     stands speechless and looks at him.] Well, now you are prepared. 

     Do nothing foolish. As soon as Helmer has received my letter, I  

     shall expect to hear from him. And remember that it is your  

     husband himself who has forced me back again into such paths.  

     That I will never forgive him. Good-bye, Mrs. Helmer.  

               [Goes out through the hall. NORA hurries to the door,  

                opens it a little, and listens. 

   NORA. He's going. He's not putting the letter into the box. No, no,  

     it would be impossible! [Opens the door further and further.]  

     What's that. He's standing still; not going downstairs. Has he 

     changed his mind? Is he-? [A letter falls into the box.  

     KROGSTAD's footsteps are heard gradually receding down the stair.  

     NORA utters a suppressed shriek, and rushes forward towards the  

     sofa-table; pause.] In the letter-box! [Slips shrinkingly up to  

     the hall door.] There it lies.- Torvald, Torvald- now we are 



          MRS. LINDEN enters from the left with the costume.  


   MRS. LINDEN. There, I think it's all right now. Shall we just try  

     it on?             

   NORA. [Hoarsely and softly.] Christina, come here. 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Throws down the dress on the sofa.] What's the 

     matter? You look quite distracted. 

   NORA. Come here. Do you see that letter? There, see- through the 

     glass of the letter-box. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes, I see it. 

   NORA. That letter is from Krogstad-  

   MRS. LINDEN. Nora- it was Krogstad who lent you the money? 

   NORA. Yes; and now Torvald will know everything. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Believe me, Nora, it's the best thing for both of you.  

   NORA. You don't know all yet. I have forged a name-  

   MRS. LINDEN. Good heavens! 

   NORA. Now, listen to me, Christina; you shall bear me witness- 

   MRS. LINDEN. How "witness"? What am I to-? 

   NORA. If I should go out of my mind- it might easily happen- 

   MRS. LINDEN. Nora!   

   NORA. Or if anything else should happen to me- so that I couldn't  

     be here-!          

   MRS. LINDEN. Nora, Nora, you're quite beside yourself! 

   NORA. In case any one wanted to take it all upon himself- the whole  

     blame- you understand- 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, yes; but how can you think-? 

   NORA. You shall bear witness that it's not true, Christina. I'm not  

     out of my mind at all; I know quite well what I'm saying; and I  

     tell you nobody else knew anything about it; I did the whole 

     thing, I myself. Remember that.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I shall remember. But I don't understand what you 


   NORA. Oh, how should you? It's the miracle coming to pass. 

   MRS. LINDEN. The miracle?  

   NORA. Yes, the miracle. But it's so terrible, Christina; it mustn't  

     happen for all the world.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I shall go straight to Krogstad and talk to him.  

   NORA. Don't; he'll do you some harm. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Once he would have done anything for me.  

   NORA. He?            

   MRS. LINDEN. Where does he live? 

   NORA. Oh, how can I tell-? Yes- [Feels in her pocket.] Here's his  

     card. But the letter, the letter-! 

   HELMER. [Knocking outside.] Nora!  

   NORA. [Shrieks in terror.] Oh, what is it? What do you want? 

   HELMER. Well, well, don't be frightened. We're not coming in;  

     you've bolted the door. Are you trying on your dress?  

   NORA. Yes, yes, I'm trying it on. It suits me so well, Torvald.  

   MRS. LINDEN. [Who has read the card.] Why, he lives close by here. 

   NORA. Yes, but it's no use now. We are lost. The letter is there in  

     the box.           

   MRS. LINDEN. And your husband has the key? 

   NORA. Always.        

   MRS. LINDEN. Krogstad must demand his letter back, unread. He must 

     find some pretext- 

   NORA. But this is the very time when Torvald generally-  

   MRS. LINDEN. Prevent him. Keep him occupied. I shall come back as  

     quickly as I can.  

                              [She goes out hastily by the hall door. 

   NORA. [Opens HELMER'S door and peeps in.] Torvald! 

   HELMER. Well, may one come into one's own room again at last? Come,  

     Rank, we'll have a look- [In the doorway.] But how's this? 

   NORA. What, Torvald dear?  

   HELMER. Rank led me to expect a grand transformation.  

   RANK. [In the doorway.] So I understood. I suppose I was mistaken. 

   NORA. No, no one shall see me in my glory till to-morrow evening.  

   HELMER. Why, Nora dear, you look so tired. Have you been practising  

     too hard?          

   NORA. No, I haven't practised at all yet.  

   HELMER. But you'll have to-  

   NORA. Oh yes, I must, I must! But, Torvald, I can't get on at all  

     without your help. I've forgotten everything.  

   HELMER. Oh, we shall soon freshen it up again. 

   NORA. Yes, do help me, Torvald. You must promise me- Oh, I'm so  

     nervous about it. Before so many people- This evening you must 

     give yourself up entirely to me. You mustn't do a stroke of work;  

     you mustn't even touch a pen. Do promise, Torvald dear!  

   HELMER. I promise. All this evening I shall be your slave. Little  

     helpless thing-! But, by-the-bye, I must just- 

                                                 [Going to hall door. 

   NORA. What do you want there?  

   HELMER. Only to see if there are any letters.  

   NORA. No, no, don't do that, Torvald.  

   HELMER. Why not?     

   NORA. Torvald, I beg you not to. There are none there. 

   HELMER. Let me just see.                                 [Is going.  

               [NORA, at the piano, plays the first bars of the 


   HELMER. [At the door, stops.] Aha! 

   NORA. I can't dance to-morrow if I don't rehearse with you first.  

   HELMER. [Going to her.] Are you really so nervous, dear Nora?  

   NORA. Yes, dreadfully! Let me rehearse at once. We have time before  

     dinner. Oh, do sit down and play for me, Torvald dear; direct me 

     and put me right, as you used to do. 

   HELMER. With all the pleasure in life, since you wish it.  

                                                       [Sits at piano.  

               [NORA snatches the tambourine out of he box, and 

                hurriedly drapes herself in a long parti-coloured 

                shawl; then, with a bound, stands in the middle of the  


   NORA. Now play for me! Now I'll dance! 

               [HELMER plays and NORA dances. RANK stands at the piano  

                behind HELMER and looks on. 

   HELMER. [Playing.] Slower! Slower! 

   NORA. Can't do it slower!  

   HELMER. Not so violently, Nora.  

   NORA. I must! I must!  

   HELMER. [Stops.] No, no, Nora- that will never do. 

   NORA. [Laughs and swings her tambourine.] Didn't I tell you so!  

   RANK. Let me play for her. 

   HELMER. [Rising.] Yes, do- then I can direct her better. 

               [RANK sits down to the piano and plays; NORA dances  

                more and more wildly. HELMER stands by the stove and  

                addresses frequent corrections to her; she seems not  

                to hear. Her hair breaks loose, and falls over her  

                shoulders. She does not notice it, but goes on  

                dancing. MRS. LINDEN enters and stands spellbound 

                in the doorway. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Ah-!    

   NORA. [Dancing.] We're having such fun here, Christina!  

   HELMER. Why, Nora dear, you're dancing as if it were a matter of 

     life and death.    

   NORA. So it is.      

   HELMER. Rank, stop! This is the merest madness. Stop, I say! 

               [RANK stops playing, and NORA comes to a sudden  


   HELMER. [Going towards her.] I couldn't have believed it. You've 

     positively forgotten all I taught you. 

   NORA. [Throws the tambourine away.] You see for yourself.  

   HELMER. You really do want teaching. 

   NORA. Yes, you see how much I need it. You must practise with me up  

     to the last moment. Will you promise me, Torvald?  

   HELMER. Certainly, certainly.  

   NORA. Neither to-day nor to-morrow must you think of anything but  

     me. You mustn't open a single letter- mustn't look at the letter-  


   HELMER. Ah, you're still afraid of that man- 

   NORA. Oh yes, yes, I am. 

   HELMER. Nora, I can see it in your face- there's a letter from him 

     in the box.        

   NORA. I don't know, I believe so. But you're not to read anything  

     now; nothing ugly must come between us until all is over.  

   RANK. [Softly, to HELMER.] You mustn't contradict her. 

   HELMER. [Putting his arm around her.] The child shall have her own 

     way. But to-morrow night, when the dance is over-  

   NORA. Then you shall be free.  


                 ELLEN appears in the doorway, right. 


   ELLEN. Dinner is on the table, ma'am.  

   NORA. We'll have some champagne, Ellen.  

   ELLEN. Yes, ma'am.                                       [Goes out.  

   HELMER. Dear me! Quite a banquet.  

   NORA. Yes, and we'll keep it up till morning. [Calling out.] And 

     macaroons, Ellen- plenty- just this once.  

   HELMER. [Seizing her hand.] Come, come, don't let us have this wild  

     excitement! Be my own little lark again. 

   NORA. Oh yes, I will. But now go into the dining-room; and you too,  

     Doctor Rank. Christina, you must help me to do up my hair. 

   RANK. [Softly, as they go.] There's nothing in the wind? Nothing- I  


   HELMER. Oh no, nothing of the kind. It's merely this babyish 

     anxiety I was telling you about. 

                                           [They go out to the right. 

   NORA. Well?          

   MRS. LINDEN. He's gone out of town.  

   NORA. I saw it in your face. 

   MRS. LINDEN. He comes back to-morrow evening. I left a note for  


   NORA. You shouldn't have done that. Things must take their course. 

     After all, there's something glorious in waiting for the miracle.  

   MRS. LINDEN. What is it you're waiting for?  

   NORA. Oh, you can't understand. Go to them in the dining-room; I 

     shall come in a moment.  

               [MRS. LINDEN goes into the dining-room. NORA stands  

                for a moment as though collecting her thoughts; 

                then looks at her watch.  

   NORA. Seven hours till midnight. Then twenty-four hours till the 

     next midnight. Then the tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and 

     seven? Thirty-one hours to live. 


                  HELMER appears at the door, right.  


   HELMER. What has become of my little lark? 

   NORA. [Runs to him with open arms.] Here she is! 


                              ACT THIRD 


   The same room. The table, with the chairs around it, in the middle.  

A lighted lamp on the table. The door to the hall stands open. Dance  

music is heard from the floor above.  

   MRS. LINDEN sits by the table and absently turns the pages of a  

book. She tries to read, but seems unable to fix her attention; she 

frequently listens and looks anxiously towards the hall door. 


   MRS. LINDEN. [Looks at her watch.] Not here yet; and the time is 

     nearly up. If only he hasn't- [Listens again.] Ah, there he is.  

     [She goes into the hall and cautiously opens the outer door; soft  

     footsteps are heard on the stairs; she whispers.] Come in; there 

     is no one here.    

   KROGSTAD. [In the doorway.] I found a note from you at my house. 

     What does it mean? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I must speak to you.  

   KROGSTAD. Indeed? And in this house? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I could not see you at my rooms. They have no separate  

     entrance. Come in; we are quite alone. The servants are asleep,  

     and the Helmers are at the ball upstairs.  

   KROGSTAD. [Coming into the room.] Ah! So the Helmers are dancing 

     this evening? Really?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes. Why not? 

   KROGSTAD. Quite right. Why not?  

   MRS. LINDEN. And now let us talk a little. 

   KROGSTAD. Have we two anything to say to each other? 

   MRS. LINDEN. A great deal. 

   KROGSTAD. I should not have thought so.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Because you have never really understood me.  

   KROGSTAD. What was there to understand? The most natural thing in  

     the world- a heartless woman throws a man over when a better 

     match offers.      

   MRS. LINDEN. Do you really think me so heartless? Do you think I 

     broke with you lightly?  

   KROGSTAD. Did you not? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Do you really think so? 

   KROGSTAD. If not, why did you write me that letter?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Was it not best? Since I had to break with you, was it  

     not right that I should try to put an end to all that you felt 

     for me?            

   KROGSTAD. [Clenching his hands together.] So that was it? And all  

     this- for the sake of money! 

   MRS. LINDEN. You ought not to forget that I had a helpless mother  

     and two little brothers. We could not wait for you, Nils, as your  

     prospects then stood.  

   KROGSTAD. Perhaps not; but you had no right to cast me off for the 

     sake of others, whoever the others might be. 

   MRS. LINDEN. I don't know. I have often asked myself whether I had 

     the right.         

   KROGSTAD. [More softly.] When I had lost you, I seemed to have no  

     firm ground left under my feet. Look at me now. I am a 

     shipwrecked man clinging to a spar.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Rescue may be at hand.  

   KROGSTAD. It was at hand; but then you came and stood in the way.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Without my knowledge, Nils. I did not know till today 

     that it was you I was to replace in the Bank.  

   KROGSTAD. Well, I take your word for it. But now that you do know, 

     do you mean to give way? 

   MRS. LINDEN. No, for that would not help you in the least. 

   KROGSTAD. Oh, help, help-! I should do it whether or no. 

   MRS. LINDEN. I have learnt prudence. Life and bitter necessity have  

     schooled me.       

   KROGSTAD. And life has taught me not to trust fine speeches. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Then life has taught you a very sensible thing. But 

     deeds you will trust?  

   KROGSTAD. What do you mean?  

   MRS. LINDEN. You said you were a shipwrecked man, clinging to a  


   KROGSTAD. I have good reason to say so.  

   MRS. LINDEN. I too am shipwrecked, and clinging to a spar. I have  

     no one to mourn for, no one to care for. 

   KROGSTAD. You made your own choice.  

   MRS. LINDEN. No choice was left me.  

   KROGSTAD. Well, what then? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Nils, how if we two shipwrecked people could join 


   KROGSTAD. What!      

   MRS. LINDEN. Two on a raft have a better chance than if each clings  

     to a separate spar.  

   KROGSTAD. Christina! 

   MRS. LINDEN. What do you think brought me to town? 

   KROGSTAD. Had you any thought of me? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I must have work or I can't bear to live. All my life,  

     as long as I can remember, I have worked; work has been my one 

     great joy. Now I stand quite alone in the world, aimless and 

     forlorn. There is no happiness in working for one's self. Nils,  

     give me somebody and something to work for.  

   KROGSTAD. I cannot believe in all this. It is simply a woman's 

     romantic craving for self-sacrifice. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Have you ever found me romantic?  

   KROGSTAD. Would you really-? Tell me: do you know all my past? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes.    

   KROGSTAD. And do you know what people say of me? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Did you not say just now that with me you could have  

     been another man?  

   KROGSTAD. I am sure of it. 

   MRS. LINDEN. Is it too late? 

   KROGSTAD. Christina, do you know what you are doing? Yes, you do; I  

     see it in your face. Have you the courage then-? 

   MRS. LINDEN. I need some one to be a mother to, and your children  

     need a mother. You need me, and I- I need you. Nils, I believe in  

     your better self. With you I fear nothing. 

   KROGSTAD. [Seizing her hands.] Thank you- thank you, Christina. Now  

     I shall make others see me as you do.- Ah, I forgot- 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Listening.] Hush! The tarantella! Go! go!  

   KROGSTAD. Why? What is it? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Don't you hear the dancing overhead? As soon as that  

     is over they will be here. 

   KROGSTAD. Oh yes, I shall go. Nothing will come of this, after all.  

     Of course, you don't know the step I have taken against the  


   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, Nils, I do know. 

   KROGSTAD. And yet you have the courage to-?  

   MRS. LINDEN. I know to what lengths despair can drive a man. 

   KROGSTAD. Oh, if I could only undo it! 

   MRS. LINDEN. You could. Your letter is still in the box. 

   KROGSTAD. Are you sure?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; but- 

   KROGSTAD. [Looking to her searchingly.] Is that what it all means? 

     You want to save your friend at any price. Say it out- is that 

     your idea?         

   MRS. LINDEN. Nils, a woman who has once sold herself for the sake  

     of others, does not do so again. 

   KROGSTAD. I shall demand my letter back again. 

   MRS. LINDEN. No, no. 

   KROGSTAD. Yes, of course. I shall wait till Helmer comes; I shall  

     tell him to give it back to me- that it's only about my  

     dismissal- that I don't want it read-  

   MRS. LINDEN. No, Nils, you must not recall the letter. 

   KROGSTAD. But tell me, wasn't that just why you got me to come 


   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, in my first alarm. But a day has passed since  

     then, and in that day I have seen incredible things in this  

     house. Helmer must know everything; there must be an end to this 

     unhappy secret. These two must come to a full understanding. They  

     must have done with all these shifts and subterfuges.  

   KROGSTAD. Very well, if you like to risk it. But one thing I can 

     do, and at once-   

   MRS. LINDEN. [Listening.] Make haste! Go, go! The dance is over; 

     we're not safe another moment. 

   KROGSTAD. I shall wait for you in the street.  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, do; you must see me home.  

   KROGSTAD. I never was so happy in all my life! 

               [KROGSTAD goes out by the outer door. The door between 

                the room and the hall remains open. 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Arranging the room and getting her outdoor things  

     together.] What a change! What a change! To have some one to work  

     for, to live for; a home to make happy! Well, it shall not be my 

     fault if I fail.- I wish they would come.- [Listens.] Ah, here 

     they are! I must get my things on. 

               [Takes bonnet and cloak. HELMER'S and NORA'S voices are  

                heard outside, a key is turned in the lock, and HELMER  

                drags NORA almost by force into the hall. She wears 

                the Italian costume with a large black shawl over it. 

                He is in evening dress and wears a black domino, open.  

   NORA. [Struggling with him in the doorway.] No, no, no! I won't go 

     in! I want to go upstairs again; I don't want to leave so early! 

   HELMER. But, my dearest girl-! 

   NORA. Oh, please, please, Torvald, I beseech you- only one hour  


   HELMER. Not one minute more, Nora dear; you know what we agreed. 

     Come, come in; you're catching cold here.  

               [He leads her gently into the room in spite of her 


   MRS. LINDEN. Good-evening. 

   NORA. Christina!     

   HELMER. What, Mrs. Linden! You here so late? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I ought to apologise. I did so want to see Nora  

     in her costume.    

   NORA. Have you been sitting here waiting for me? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; unfortunately I came too late. You had gone  

     upstairs already, and I felt I couldn't go away without seeing 


   HELMER. [Taking Nora's shawl off.] Well then, just look at her! I  

     assure you she's worth it. isn't she lovely, Mrs. Linden?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I must say-  

   HELMER. Isn't she exquisite? Every one said so. But she's  

     dreadfully obstinate, dear little creature. What's to be done  

     with her? Just think, I had almost to force her away.  

   NORA. Oh, Torvald, you'll be sorry some day that you didn't let me 

     stay, if only for one half-hour more.  

   HELMER. There! You hear her, Mrs. Linden? She dances her tarantella  

     with wild applause, and well she deserved it, I must say- though 

     there was, perhaps, a little too much nature in her rendering of 

     the idea- more than was, strictly speaking, artistic. But never  

     mind- the point is, she made a great success, a tremendous 

     success. Was I to let her remain after that- to weaken the 

     impression? Not if I know it. I took my sweet little Capri girl- 

     my capricious little Capri girl, I might say- under my arm; a  

     rapid turn round the room, a curtsey to all sides, and- as they  

     say in novels- the lovely apparition vanished! An exit should  

     always be effective, Mrs. Linden; but I can't get Nora to see it.  

     By Jove! it's warm here. [Throws his domino on a chair and opens 

     the door to his room.] What! No light there? Oh, of course.  

     Excuse me-         

                                          [Goes in and lights candle. 

   NORA. [Whispers breathlessly.] Well? 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Softly.] I've spoken to him. 

   NORA. And-?          

   MRS. LINDEN. Nora- you must tell your husband everything-  

   NORA. [Tonelessly.] I knew it! 

   MRS. LINDEN. You have nothing to fear from Krogstad; but you must  

     speak out.         

   NORA. I shall not speak! 

   MRS. LINDEN. Then the letter will. 

   NORA. Thank you, Christina. Now I know what I have to do. Hush-! 

   HELMER. [Coming back.] Well, Mrs. Linden, have you admired her?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes; and now I must say good-night. 

   HELMER. What, already? Does this knitting belong to you? 

   MRS. LINDEN. [Takes it.] Yes, thanks; I was nearly forgetting it.  

   HELMER. Then you do knit?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes.    

   HELMER. Do you know, you ought to embroider instead? 

   MRS. LINDEN. Indeed! Why?  

   HELMER. Because it's so much prettier. Look now! You hold the  

     embroidery in the left hand, so, and then work the needle with 

     the right hand, in a long, graceful curve- don't you?  

   MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I suppose so.  

   HELMER. But knitting is always ugly. Just look- your arms close to 

     your sides, and the needles going up and down- there's something 

     Chinese about it.- They really gave us splendid champagne  


   MRS. LINDEN. Well, good-night, Nora, and don't be obstinate any  


   HELMER. Well said, Mrs. Linden!  

   MRS. LINDEN. Good-night, Mr. Helmer. 

   HELMER. [Accompanying her to the door.] Good-night, good-night; I  

     hope you'll get safely home. I should be glad to- but you have 

     such a short way to go. Good-night, good-night. [She goes; HELMER  

     shuts the door after her and comes forward again.] At last we've 

     got rid of her: she's a terrible bore. 

   NORA. Aren't you very tired, Torvald?  

   HELMER. No, not in the least.  

   NORA. Nor sleepy?    

   HELMER. Not a bit. I feel particularly lively. But you? You do look  

     tired and sleepy.  

   NORA. Yes, very tired. I shall soon sleep now. 

   HELMER. There, you see. I was right after all not to let you stay  


   NORA. Oh, everything you do is right.  

   HELMER. [Kissing her forehead.] Now my lark is speaking like a 

     reasonable being. Did you notice how jolly Rank was this evening?  

   NORA. Indeed? Was he? I had no chance of speaking to him.  

   HELMER. Nor I, much; but, I haven't seen him in such good spirits  

     for a long time. [Looks at NORA a little, then comes nearer her.]  

     It's splendid to be back in our own home, to be quite alone  

     together!- Oh, you enchanting creature!  

   NORA. Don't look at me in that way, Torvald. 

   HELMER. I am not to look at my dearest treasure?- at all the 

     loveliness that is mine, mine only, wholly and entirely mine?  

   NORA. [Goes to the other side of the table.] You mustn't say these 

     things to me this evening. 

   HELMER. [Following.] I see you have the tarantella still in your 

     blood- and that makes you all the more enticing. Listen! the 

     other people are going now. [More softly.] Nora- soon the whole  

     house will be still. 

   NORA. Yes, I hope so.  

   HELMER. Yes, don't you, Nora darling? When we are among strangers, 

     do you know why I speak so little to you, and keep so far away,  

     and only steal a glance at you now and then- do you know why I do  

     it? Because I am fancying that we love each other in secret, that  

     I am secretly betrothed to you, and that no one dreams that there  

     is anything between us.  

   NORA. Yes, yes, yes. I know all your thoughts are with me. 

   HELMER. And then, when the time comes to go, and I put the shawl 

     about your smooth, soft shoulders, and this glorious neck of 

     yours, I imagine you are my bride, that our marriage is just 

     over, that I am bringing you for the first time to my home- that 

     I am alone with you for the first time- quite alone with you, in 

     your trembling loveliness! All this evening I have been longing  

     for you, and you only. When I watched you swaying and whirling in  

     the tarantella- my blood boiled- I could endure it no longer; and  

     that's why I made you come home with me so early-  

   NORA. Go now, Torvald! Go away from me. I won't have all this. 

   HELMER. What do you mean? Ah, I see you're teasing me, little Nora!  

     Won't- won't! Am I not your husband-?  

                                          [A knock at the outer door. 

   NORA. [Starts.] Did you hear-? 

   HELMER. [Going towards the hall.] Who's there? 

   RANK. [Outside.] It is I; may I come in for a moment?  

   HELMER. [In a low tone, annoyed.] Oh, what can he want just now? 

     [Aloud.] Wait a moment. [Opens door.] Come, it's nice of you to  

     look in.           

   RANK. I thought I heard your voice, and that put it into my head.  

     [Looks round.] Ah, this dear old place! How cosy you two are 


   HELMER. You seemed to find it pleasant enough upstairs, too. 

   RANK. Exceedingly. Why not? Why shouldn't one take one's share of  

     everything in this world? All one can, at least, and as long as  

     one can. The wine was splendid-  

   HELMER. Especially the champagne.  

   RANK. Did you notice it? It's incredible the quantity I contrived  

     to get down.       

   NORA. Torvald drank plenty of champagne, too.  

   RANK. Did he?        

   NORA. Yes, and it always puts him in such spirits. 

   RANK. Well, why shouldn't one have a jolly evening after a 

     well-spent day?    

   HELMER. Well-spent! Well, I haven't much to boast of in that 


   RANK. [Slapping him on the shoulder.] But I have, don't you see? 

   NORA. I suppose you have been engaged in a scientific  

     investigation, Doctor Rank?  

   RANK. Quite right.   

   HELMER. Bless me! Little Nora talking about scientific 


   NORA. Am I to congratulate you on the result?  

   RANK. By all means.  

   NORA. It was good then?  

   RANK. The best possible, both for doctor and patient- certainty. 

   NORA. [Quickly and searchingly.] Certainty?  

   RANK. Absolute certainty. Wasn't I right to enjoy myself after 


   NORA. Yes, quite right, Doctor Rank. 

   HELMER. And so say I, provided you don't have to pay for it  


   RANK. Well, in this life nothing is to be had for nothing. 

   NORA. Doctor Rank- I'm sure you are very fond of masquerades?  

   RANK. Yes, when there are plenty of amusing disguises- 

   NORA. Tell me, what shall we two be at our next masquerade?  

   HELMER. Little featherbrain! Thinking of your next already!  

   RANK. We two? I'll tell you. You must go as a good fairy.  

   HELMER. Ah, but what costume would indicate that?  

   RANK. She has simply to wear her everyday dress. 

   HELMER. Capital! But don't you know what you will be yourself? 

   RANK. Yes, my dear friend, I am perfectly clear upon that point. 

   HELMER. Well?        

   RANK. At the next masquerade I shall be invisible. 

   HELMER. What a comical idea! 

   RANK. There's a big black hat- haven't you heard of the invisible  

     hat? It comes down all over you, and then no one can see you.  

   HELMER. [With a supressed smile.] No, you're right there.  

   RANK. But I'm quite forgetting what I came for. Helmer, give me a  

     cigar- one of the dark Havanas.  

   HELMER. With the greatest pleasure.  

                                                   [Hands cigar-case. 

   RANK. [Takes one and cuts the end off.] Thank you. 

   NORA. [Striking a wax match.] Let me give you a light. 

   RANK. A thousand thanks. 

                     [She holds the match. He lights his cigar at it. 

   RANK. And now, good-bye! 

   HELMER. Good-bye, good-bye, my dear fellow.  

   NORA. Sleep well, Doctor Rank. 

   RANK. Thanks for the wish. 

   NORA. Wish me the same.  

   RANK. You? Very well, since you ask me- Sleep well. And thanks for 

     the light.         

                                  [He nods to them both and goes out. 

   HELMER. [In an undertone.] He's been drinking a good deal. 

   NORA. [Absently.] I daresay. [HELMER takes his bunch of keys from  

     his pocket and goes into the hall.] Torvald, what are you doing  


   HELMER. I must empty the letter-box; it's quite full; there will be  

     no room for the newspapers to-morrow morning.  

   NORA. Are you going to work to-night?  

   HELMER. You know very well I am not.- Why, how is this? Some one 

     has been at the lock.  

   NORA. The lock-?     

   HELMER. I'm sure of it. What does it mean? I can't think that the  

     servants-? Here's a broken hair-pin. Nora, it's one of yours.  

   NORA. [Quickly.] It must have been the children- 

   HELMER. Then you must break them of such tricks.- There! At last 

     I've got it open. [Takes contents out and calls into the 

     kitchen.] Ellen!- Ellen, just put the hall door lamp out.  

               [He returns with letters in his hand, and shuts the  

                inner door. 

   HELMER. Just see how they've accumulated. [Turning them over.] Why,  

     what's this?       

   NORA. [At the window.] The letter! Oh no, no, Torvald! 

   HELMER. Two visiting-cards- from Rank. 

   NORA. From Doctor Rank?  

   HELMER. [Looking at them.] Doctor Rank. They were on the top. He 

     must just have put them in.  

   NORA. Is there anything on them? 

   HELMER. There's a black cross over the name. Look at it. What an 

     unpleasant idea! It looks just as if he were announcing his own  


   NORA. So he is.      

   HELMER. What! Do you know anything? Has he told you anything?  

   NORA. Yes. These cards mean that he has taken his last leave of us.  

     He is going to shut himself up and die.  

   HELMER. Poor fellow! Of course I knew we couldn't hope to keep him 

     long. But so soon-! And to go and creep into his lair like a 

     wounded animal-    

   NORA. When we must go, it is best to go silently. Don't you think  

     so, Torvald?       

   HELMER. [Walking up and down.] He had so grown into our lives, 

     I can't realise that he is gone. He and his sufferings and his 

     loneliness formed a sort of cloudy background to the sunshine of 

     our happiness.- Well, perhaps it's best as it is- at any rate for  

     him. [Stands still.] And perhaps for us too, Nora. Now we two are  

     thrown entirely upon each other. [Takes her in his arms.] My 

     darling wife! I feel as if I could never hold you close enough.  

     Do you know, Nora, I often wish some danger might threaten you,  

     that I might risk body and soul, and everything, everything, for 

     your dear sake.    

   NORA. [Tears herself from him and says firmly.] Now you shall read 

     your letters, Torvald. 

   HELMER. No, no; not to-night. I want to be with you, my sweet wife.  

   NORA. With the thought of your dying friend-?  

   HELMER. You are right. This has shaken us both. Unloveliness has 

     come between us- thoughts of death and decay. We must seek to  

     cast them off. Till then- we will remain apart.  

   NORA. [Her arms round his neck.] Torvald! Good-night! good-night!  

   HELMER. [Kissing her forehead.] Good-night, my little song-bird. 

     Sleep well, Nora. Now I shall go and read my letters.  

               [He goes with the letters in his hand into his room  

                and shuts the door. 

   NORA. [With wild eyes, gropes about her, seizes HELMER'S domino, 

     throws it round her, and whispers quickly, hoarsely, 

     and brokenly.] Never to see him again. Never, never, never.  

     [Throws her shawl over her head.] Never to see the children  

     again. Never, never.- Oh that black, icy water! Oh that  

     bottomless-! If it were only over! Now he has it; he's reading 

     it. Oh, no, no, no, not yet. Torvald, good-bye-! Good-bye, my  

     little ones-!      

               [She is rushing out by the hall; at the same moment  

                HELMER flings his door open, and stands there with  

                an open letter in his hand. 

   HELMER. Nora!        

   NORA. [Shrieks.] Ah-!  

   HELMER. What is this? Do you know what is in this letter?  

   NORA. Yes, I know. Let me go!  Let me pass!  

   HELMER. [Holds her back.] Where do you want to go? 

   NORA. [Tries to break away from him.] You shall not save me, 


   HELMER. [Falling back.] True! Is what he writes true? No, no, it is  

     impossible that this can be true.  

   NORA. It is true. I have loved you beyond all else in the world. 

   HELMER. Pshaw- no silly evasions!  

   NORA. [A step nearer him.] Torvald-! 

   HELMER. Wretched woman- what have you done!  

   NORA. Let me go- you shall not save me! You shall not take my guilt  

     upon yourself!     

   HELMER. I don't want any melodramatic airs. [Locks the outer door.]  

     Here you shall stay and give an account of yourself. Do you  

     understand what you have done? Answer! Do you understand it? 

   NORA. [Looks at him fixedly, and says with a stiffening  

     expression.] Yes; now I begin fully to understand it.  

   HELMER. [Walking up and down.] Oh! what an awful awakening! During 

     all these eight years- she who was my pride and my joy- a  

     hypocrite, a liar- worse, worse- a criminal. Oh, the unfathomable  

     hideousness of it all! Ugh! Ugh! 

               [NORA says nothing, and continues to look fixedly at 


   HELMER. I ought to have known how it would be. I ought to have 

     foreseen it. All your father's want of principle- be silent!- all  

     your father's want of principle you have inherited- no religion, 

     no morality, no sense of duty. How I am punished for screening 

     him! I did it for your sake; and you reward me like this.  

   NORA. Yes- like this.  

   HELMER. You have destroyed my whole happiness. You have ruined my  

     future. Oh, it's frightful to think of! I am in the power of a 

     scoundrel; he can do whatever he pleases with me, demand whatever  

     he chooses; he can domineer over me as much as he likes, and I 

     must submit. And all this disaster and ruin is brought upon me by  

     an unprincipled woman! 

   NORA. When I am out of the world, you will be free.  

   HELMER. Oh, no fine phrases. Your father, too, was always ready  

     with them. What good would it do me, if you were "out of the 

     world," as you say? No good whatever! He can publish the story 

     all the same; I might even be suspected of collusion. People will  

     think I was at the bottom of it all and egged you on. And for all  

     this I have you to thank- you whom I have done nothing but pet 

     and spoil during our whole married life. Do you understand now 

     what you have done to me?  

   NORA. [With cold calmness.] Yes. 

   HELMER. The thing is so incredible, I can't grasp it. But we must  

     come to an understanding. Take that shawl off. Take it off, I  

     say! I must try to pacify him in one way or another- the matter  

     must be hushed up, cost what it may.- As for you and me, we must 

     make no outward change in our way of life- no outward change, you  

     understand. Of course, you will continue to live here. But the 

     children cannot be left in your care. I dare not trust them to 

     you.- Oh, to have to say this to one I have loved so tenderly- 

     whom I still-! But that must be a thing of the past. Henceforward  

     there can be no question of happiness, but merely of saving the  

     ruins, the shreds, the show- [A ring; HELMER starts.] What's 

     that? So late! Can it be the worst? Can he-? Hide yourself, Nora;  

     say you are ill.   

               [NORA stands motionless. HELMER goes to the door and 

                opens it. 

   ELLEN. [Half dressed, in the hall.] Here is a letter for you,  


   HELMER. Give it to me. [Seizes the letter and shuts the door.] Yes,  

     from him. You shall not have it. I shall read it.  

   NORA. Read it?       

   HELMER. [By the lamp.] I have hardly the courage to. We may both be  

     lost, both you and I. Ah! I must know. [Hastily tears the letter 

     open; reads a few lines, looks at an enclosure; with a cry of  

     joy.] Nora!        

                                      [Nora looks inquiringly at him. 

   HELMER. Nora!- Oh! I must read it again.- Yes, yes, it is so. I am 

     saved! Nora, I am saved! 

   NORA. And I?         

   HELMER. You too, of course; we are both saved, both of us. Look  

     here- he sends you back your promissory note. He writes that he  

     regrets and apologises, that a happy turn in his life- Oh, what  

     matter what he writes. We are saved, Nora! No one can harm you.  

     Oh, Nora, Nora-; but first to get rid of this hateful thing. I'll  

     just see- [Glances at the I.O.U.] No, I will not look at it; the 

     whole thing shall be nothing but a dream to me. [Tears the I.O.U.  

     and both letters in pieces. Throws them into the fire and watches  

     them burn.] There! it's gone!- He said that ever since Christmas 

     Eve- Oh, Nora, they must have been three terrible days for you!  

   NORA. I have fought a hard fight for the last three days.  

   HELMER. And in your agony you saw no other outlet but- No; we won't  

     think of that horror. We will only rejoice and repeat- it's over,  

     all over! Don't you hear, Nora? You don't seem able to grasp it. 

     Yes, it's over. What is this set look on your face? Oh, my poor  

     Nora, I understand; you cannot believe that I have forgiven you. 

     But I have, Nora; I swear it. I have forgiven everything. I know 

     that what you did was all for love of me.  

   NORA. That is true.  

   HELMER. You loved me as a wife should love her husband. It was only  

     the means that, in your inexperience, you misjudged. But do you  

     think I love you the less because you cannot do without guidance?  

     No, no. Only lean on me; I will counsel you, and guide you. I  

     should be no true man if this very womanly helplessness did not  

     make you doubly dear in my eyes. You mustn't dwell upon the hard 

     things I said in my first moment of terror, when the world seemed  

     to be tumbling about my ears. I have forgiven you, Nora- I swear 

     I have forgiven you. 

   NORA. I thank you for your forgiveness.  

                                             [Goes out, to the right. 

   HELMER. No, stay-! [Looking through the doorway.] What are you 

     going to do?       

   NORA. [Inside.] To take off my masquerade dress. 

   HELMER. [In the doorway.] Yes, do, dear. Try to calm down, and 

     recover your balance, my scared little song-bird. You may rest 

     secure. I have broad wings to shield you. [Walking up and down 

     near the door.] Oh, how lovely- how cosy our home is, Nora! Here 

     you are safe; here I can shelter you like a hunted dove whom I 

     have saved from the claws of the hawk. I shall soon bring your 

     poor beating heart to rest; believe me, Nora, very soon. 

     To-morrow all this will seem quite different- everything will  

     be as before. I shall not need to tell you again that I forgive  

     you; you will feel for yourself that it is true. How could you 

     think I could find it in my heart to drive you away, or even so  

     much as to reproach you? Oh, you don't know a true man's heart,  

     Nora. There is something indescribably sweet and soothing to a 

     man in having forgiven his wife- honestly forgiven her, from the 

     bottom of his heart. She becomes his property in a double sense. 

     She is as though born again; she has become, so to speak, at once  

     his wife and his child. That is what you shall henceforth be to  

     me, my bewildered, helpless darling. Don't be troubled about 

     anything, Nora; only open your heart to me, and I will be both 

     will and conscience to you. [NORA enters in everyday dress.] Why,  

     what's this? Not gone to bed You have changed your dress?  

   NORA. Yes, Torvald; now I have changed my dress. 

   HELMER. But why now, so late-? 

   NORA. I shall not sleep to-night.  

   HELMER. But, Nora dear-  

   NORA. [Looking at her watch.] It's not so late yet. Sit down,  

     Torvald; you and I have much to say to each other. 

                                  [She sits at one side of the table. 

   HELMER. Nora- what does this mean? Your cold, set face-  

   NORA. Sit down. It will take some time. I have much to talk over 

     with you.          

                         [HELMER sits at the other side of the table. 

   HELMER. You alarm me, Nora. I don't understand you.  

   NORA. No, that is just it. You don't understand me; and I have 

     never understood you- till to-night. No, don't interrupt. Only 

     listen to what I say.- We must come to a final settlement, 


   HELMER. How do you mean? 

   NORA. [After a short silence.] Does not one thing strike you as we 

     sit here?          

   HELMER. What should strike me? 

   NORA. We have been married eight years. Does it not strike you that  

     this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have 

     talked together seriously? 

   HELMER. Seriously! What do you call seriously? 

   NORA. During eight whole years, and more- ever since the day we  

     first met- we have never exchanged one serious word about serious  


   HELMER. Was I always to trouble you with the cares you could not 

     help me to bear?   

   NORA. I am not talking of cares. I say that we have never yet set  

     ourselves seriously to get to the bottom of anything.  

   HELMER. Why, my dearest Nora, what have you to do with serious 


   NORA. There we have it! You have never understood me.- I have had  

     great injustice done me, Torvald; first by father, and then by 


   HELMER. What! By your father and me?- By us, who have loved you  

     more than all the world? 

   NORA. [Shaking her head.] You have never loved me. You only thought  

     it amusing to be in love with me.  

   HELMER. Why, Nora, what a thing to say!  

   NORA. Yes, it is so, Torvald. While I was at home with father, he  

     used to tell me all his opinions, and I held the same opinions.  

     If I had others I said nothing about them, because he wouldn't 

     have liked it. He used to call me his doll-child, and played with  

     me as I played with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house- 

   HELMER. What an expression to use about our marriage!  

   NORA. [Undisturbed.] I mean I passed from father's hands into  

     yours. You arranged everything according to your taste; and I got  

     the same tastes as you; or I pretended to- I don't know which- 

     both ways, perhaps; sometimes one and sometimes the other. When I  

     look back on it now, I seem to have been living here like a  

     beggar, from hand to mouth. I lived by performing tricks for you,  

     Torvald. But you would have it so. You and father have done me a 

     great wrong. It is your fault that my life has come to nothing.  

   HELMER. Why, Nora, how unreasonable and ungrateful you are! Have 

     you not been happy here? 

   NORA. No, never. I thought I was; but I never was. 

   HELMER. Not- not happy!  

   NORA. No; only merry. And you have always been so kind to me. But  

     our house has been nothing but a play-room. Here I have been your  

     doll-wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child. And 

     the children, in their turn, have been my dolls. I thought it fun  

     when you played with me, just as the children did when I played  

     with them. That has been our marriage, Torvald.  

   HELMER. There is some truth in what you say, exaggerated and 

     overstrained though it be. But henceforth it shall be different. 

     Play-time is over; now comes the time for education. 

   NORA. Whose education? Mine, or the children's?  

   HELMER. Both, my dear Nora.  

   NORA. Oh, Torvald, you are not the man to teach me to be a fit wife  

     for you.           

   HELMER. And you can say that?  

   NORA. And I- how have I prepared myself to educate the children? 

   HELMER. Nora!        

   NORA. Did you not say yourself, a few minutes ago, you dared not 

     trust them to me?  

   HELMER. In the excitement of the moment! Why should you dwell upon 


   NORA. No- you were perfectly right. That problem is beyond me. 

     There is another to be solved first- I must try to educate 

     myself. You are not the man to help me in that. I must set about 

     it alone. And that is why I am leaving you.  

   HELMER. [Jumping up.] What- do you mean to say-? 

   NORA. I must stand quite alone if I am ever to know myself and my  

     surroundings; so I cannot stay with you. 

   HELMER. Nora! Nora!  

   NORA. I am going at once. I daresay Christina will take me in for  


   HELMER. You are mad! I shall not allow it! I forbid it!  

   NORA. It is of no use your forbidding me anything now. I shall take  

     with me what belongs to me. From you I will accept nothing,  

     either now or afterwards.  

   HELMER. What madness this is!  

   NORA. To-morrow I shall go home- I mean to what was my home. It  

     will be easier for me to find some opening there.  

   HELMER. Oh, in your blind inexperience-  

   NORA. I must try to gain experience, Torvald.  

   HELMER. To forsake your home, your husband, and your children! And 

     you don't consider what the world will say.  

   NORA. I can pay no heed to that. I only know that I must do it.  

   HELMER. This is monstrous! Can you forsake your holiest duties in  

     this way?          

   NORA. What do you consider my holiest duties?  

   HELMER. Do I need to tell you that? Your duties to your husband and  

     your children.     

   NORA. I have other duties equally sacred.  

   HELMER. Impossible! What duties do you mean? 

   NORA. My duties towards myself.  

   HELMER. Before all else you are a wife and a mother. 

   NORA. That I no longer believe. I believe that before all else I am  

     a human being, just as much as you are- or at least that I should  

     try to become one. I know that most people agree with you, 

     Torvald, and that they say so in books. But henceforth I can't be  

     satisfied with what most people say, and what is in books. I must  

     think things out for myself, and try to get clear about them.  

   HELMER. Are you not clear about your place in your own home? Have  

     you not an infallible guide in questions like these? Have you not  


   NORA. Oh, Torvald, I don't really know what religion is. 

   HELMER. What do you mean?  

   NORA. I know nothing but what Pastor Hansen told me when I was 

     confirmed. He explained that religion was this and that. When I  

     get away from all this and stand alone, I will look into that  

     matter too. I will see whether what he taught me is right, or, at  

     any rate, whether it is right for me.  

   HELMER. Oh, this is unheard of! And from so young a woman! But if  

     religion cannot keep you right, let me appeal to your conscience-  

     for I suppose you have some moral feeling? Or, answer me: perhaps  

     you have none?     

   NORA. Well, Torvald, it's not easy to say. I really don't know- I  

     am all at sea about these things. I only know that I think quite 

     differently from you about them. I hear, too, that the laws are  

     different from what I thought: but I can't believe that they can 

     be right. It appears that a woman has no right to spare her dying  

     father, or to save her husband's life! I don't believe that. 

   HELMER. You talk like a child. You don't understand the society in 

     which you live.    

   NORA. No, I do not. But now I shall try to learn. I must make up my  

     mind which is right- society or I. 

   HELMER. Nora, you are ill; you are feverish; I almost think you are  

     out of your senses.  

   NORA. I have never felt so much clearness and certainty as 


   HELMER. You are clear and certain enough to forsake husband and  


   NORA. Yes, I am.     

   HELMER. Then there is only one explanation possible. 

   NORA. What is that?  

   HELMER. You no longer love me. 

   NORA. No; that is just it. 

   HELMER. Nora!- Can you say so! 

   NORA. Oh, I'm so sorry, Torvald; for you've always been so kind to 

     me. But I can't help it. I do not love you any longer. 

   HELMER. [Mastering himself with difficulty.] Are you clear and 

     certain on this point too? 

   NORA. Yes, quite. That is why I will not stay here any longer. 

   HELMER. And can you also make clear to me how I have forfeited your  


   NORA. Yes, I can. It was this evening, when the miracle did not  

     happen; for then I saw you were not the man I had imagined.  

   HELMER. Explain yourself more clearly; I don't understand  

   NORA. I have waited so patiently all these eight years. for of 

     course I saw clearly enough that miracles don't happen every day.  

     When this crushing blow threatened me, I said to myself so 

     confidently, "Now comes the miracle!" When Krogstad's letter lay 

     in the box, it never for a moment occurred to me that you would  

     think of submitting to that man's conditions. I was convinced  

     that you would say to him, "Make it known to all the world"; and 

     that then-         

   HELMER. Well? When I had given my own wife's name up to disgrace 

     and shame-?        

   NORA. Then I firmly believed that you would come forward, take 

     everything upon yourself, and say, "I am the guilty one."  

   HELMER. Nora-!       

   NORA. You mean I would never have accepted such a sacrifice? No, 

     certainly not. But what would my assertions have been worth in 

     opposition to yours?- That was the miracle that I hoped for and  

     dreaded. And it was to hinder that that I wanted to die. 

   HELMER. I would gladly work for you day and night, Nora- bear  

     sorrow and want for your sake. But no man sacrifices his honour, 

     even for one he loves. 

   NORA. Millions of women have done so.  

   HELMER. Oh, you think and talk like a silly child. 

   NORA. Very likely. But you neither think nor talk like the man I 

     can share my life with. When your terror was over- not for what  

     threatened me, but for yourself- when there was nothing more to  

     fear- then it seemed to you as though nothing had happened. I was  

     your lark again, your doll, just as before- whom you would take  

     twice as much care of in future, because she was so weak and 

     fragile. [Stands up.] Torvald- in that moment it burst upon me 

     that I had been living here these eight years with a strange man,  

     and had borne him three children.- Oh, I can't bear to think of  

     it! I could tear myself to pieces! 

   HELMER. [Sadly.] I see it, I see it; an abyss has opened between 

     us.- But, Nora, can it never be filled up? 

   NORA. As I now am, I am no wife for you. 

   HELMER. I have strength to become another man. 

   NORA. Perhaps- when your doll is taken away from you.  

   HELMER. To part- to part from you! No, Nora, no; I can't grasp the 


   NORA. [Going into room on the right.] The more reason for the thing  

     to happen.         

               [She comes back with out-door things and a small 

                travelling-bag, which she places on a chair.  

   HELMER. Nora, Nora, not now! Wait till to-morrow.  

   NORA. [Putting on cloak.] I can't spend the night in a strange 

     man's house.       

   HELMER. But can we not live here, as brother and sister-?  

   NORA. [Fastening her hat.] You know very well that wouldn't last 

     long. [Puts on the shawl.] Good-bye, Torvald. No. I won't go to  

     the children. I know they are in better hands than mine. As I now  

     am, I can be nothing to them.  

   HELMER. But some time, Nora- some time-? 

   NORA. How can I tell? I have no idea what will become of me. 

   HELMER. But you are my wife, now and always! 

   NORA. Listen, Torvald- when a wife leaves her husband's house, as I  

     am doing, I have heard that in the eyes of the law he is free  

     from all duties towards her. At any rate, I release you from all 

     duties. You must not feel yourself bound, any more than I shall. 

     There must be perfect freedom on both sides. There, I give you 

     back your ring. Give me mine.  

   HELMER. That too?    

   NORA. That too.      

   HELMER. Here it is.  

   NORA. Very well. Now it is all over. I lay the keys here. The  

     servants know about everything in the house- better than I do. 

     To-morrow, when I have started, Christina will come to pack up 

     the things I brought with me from home. I will have them sent  

     after me.          

   HELMER. All over! all over! Nora, will you never think of me again?  

   NORA. Oh, I shall often think of you, and the children, and this 


   HELMER. May I write to you, Nora?  

   NORA. No- never. You must not. 

   HELMER. But I must send you- 

   NORA. Nothing, nothing.  

   HELMER. I must help you if you need it.  

   NORA. No, I say. I take nothing from strangers.  

   HELMER. Nora- can I never be more than a stranger to you?  

   NORA. [Taking her travelling-bag.] Oh, Torvald, then the miracle of

     miracles would have to happen- 

   HELMER. What is the miracle of miracles? 

   NORA. Both of us would have to change so that- Oh, Torvald, I no 

     longer believe in miracles.

   HELMER. But I will believe. Tell me! We must so change that-?  

   NORA. That communion between us shall be a marriage. Good-bye. 

                                      [She goes out by the hall door. 

   HELMER. [Sinks into a chair by the door with his face in his 

     hands.] Nora! Nora! [He looks round and rises.] Empty. She is 

     gone. [A hope springs up in him.] Ah! The miracle of miracles-?! 

               [From below is heard the reverberation of a heavy door 


                               THE END