A Doll's House

by Henrik Ibsen (1879)

Act 3

Nora - Female, 35 to 50 yrs

Scene partner - Helmer

Monologue - Dramatic, 1:00 to 2:00 min


I have waited so patiently for eight years; for, goodness knows, I knew very well that wonderful things don't happen every day. Then this horrible misfortune came upon me; and then I felt quite certain that the wonderful thing was going to happen at last. When Krogstad's letter was lying out there, never for a moment did I imagine that you would consent to accept this man's conditions. I was so absolutely certain that you would say to him: Publish the thing to the whole world. And when that was done –

[Helmer: Yes, what then? – when I had exposed my wife to shame and disgrace?]

When that was done, I was so absolutely certain, you would come forward and take everything upon yourself, and say: I am the guilty one.

[Helmer: Nora –!]

You mean that I would never have accepted such a sacrifice on your part? No, of course not. But what would my assurances have been worth against yours? That was the wonderful thing which I hoped for and feared; and it was to prevent that, that I wanted to kill myself.

[Helmer: I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora – bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.]

[It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.]

[Helmer: Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.]

[Maybe.] But you neither think nor talk like the man I could bind myself to. As soon as your fear was over – and it was not fear for what threatened me, but for what might happen to you – when the whole thing was past, as far as you were concerned it was exactly as if nothing at all had happened. Exactly as before, I was your little skylark, your doll, which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care, because it was so brittle and fragile. Torvald – it was then it dawned upon me that for eight years I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children. Oh, I can't bear to think of it! I could tear myself into little bits!

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