The Lady from the Sea

by Henrik Ibsen (1888)

Act 4

Wangel - Male, 35 to 50 yrs

Scene partner - Arnholm

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


When you go down to the bedrock, it was born in her. Ellida belongs to the sea-folk. That is the matter.

[Arnholm: What do you really mean, my dear doctor?]

Haven't you noticed that the people from out there by the open sea are, in a way, a people apart? It is almost as if they themselves lived the life of the sea. There is the rush of waves, and ebb and flow too, both in their thoughts and in their feelings, and so they can never bear transplanting. Oh! I ought to have remembered that. It was a sin against Ellida to take her away from there, and bring her here.

[Arnholm: You have come to that opinion?]

[Yes, more and more.] But I ought to have told myself this beforehand. Oh! I knew it well enough at bottom! But I put it from me. For, you see, I loved her so! Therefore, I thought of myself first of all. I was inexcusably selfish at that time!

[Arnholm: Hm. I suppose every man is a little selfish under such circumstances. Moreover, I've never noticed that vice in you, Doctor Wangel.]

[Oh, yes!] And I have been since then, too. Why, I am so much, much older than she is. I ought to have been at once as a father to her and a guide. I ought to have done my best to develop and enlighten her mind. Unfortunately nothing ever came of that. You see, I hadn't stamina enough, for I preferred her just as she was. So things went worse and worse with her, and then I didn't know what to do.

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