(SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not
extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the
entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study.
Between the doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand
wall is a door, and beyond it a window. Near the window are a
round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. In the right-hand wall,
at the farther end, another door; and on the same side, nearer
the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs and a rocking-chair;
between the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the
walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects; a small
book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and a
fire burns in the stove. It is winter.
A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to
open. Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in
outdoor dress and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on
the table to the right. She leaves the outer door open after her,
and through it is seen a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree
and a basket, which he gives to the MAID who has opened the
Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the
children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed. (To
the PORTER, taking out her purse.) How much?
There is a shilling. No, keep the change. (The PORTER
thanks her, and goes out. NORA shuts the door. She is laughing to
herself, as she takes off her hat and coat. She takes a packet of
macaroons from her pocket and eats one or two; then goes
cautiously to her husband's door and listens.) Yes, he is in.
(Still humming, she goes to the table on the right.)
HELMER. (calls out from his room).
Is that my little lark
twittering out there?
NORA. (busy opening some of the parcels).
Yes, it is!
Just now. (Puts the bag of macaroons into her pocket and
wipes her mouth.) Come in here, Torvald, and see what I have
Don't disturb me. (A little later, he opens the door and
looks into the room, pen in hand.) Bought, did you say? All these
things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?
Yes but, Torvald, this year we really can let ourselves go
a little. This is the first Christmas that we have not needed to
Still, you know, we can't spend money recklessly. Nora.
Yes, Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn't we?
Just a tiny wee bit! You are going to have a big salary and earn
lots and lots of money.
Yes, after the New Year; but then it will be a whole
quarter before the salary is due.
Nora! (Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the
ear.) The same little featherhead! Suppose, now, that I borrowed
fifty pounds today, and you spent it all in the Christmas week,
and then on New Year's Eve a slate fell on my head and killed me,
and--Nora (putting her hands over his mouth). Oh! don't say such
If that were to happen, I don't suppose I should care
whether I owed money or not.
Yes, but what about the people who had lent it?
They? Who would bother about them? I should not know who they
That is like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what
I think about that. No debt, no borrowing. There can be no
freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and
debt. We two have kept bravely on the straight road so far, and
we will go on the same way for the short time longer that there
need be any struggle.
NORA. (moving towards the stove).
As you please, Torvald.
HELMER. (following her).
Come, come, my little skylark must not
droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of
temper? (Taking out his purse.) Nora, what do you think I have
Yes, yes, it will. But come here and let me show you what I
have bought. And all so cheap! Look, here is a new suit for Ivar,
and a sword; and a horse and a trumpet for Bob; and a doll and
dolly's bedstead for Emmy,--they are very plain, but anyway she
will soon break them in pieces. And here are dress-lengths and
handkerchiefs for the maids; old Anne ought really to have
Oh, do! dear Torvald; please, please do! Then I will wrap it up
in beautiful gilt paper and hang it on the Christmas Tree. Wouldn't
that be fun?
What are little people called that are always wasting
Spendthrifts--I know. Let us do as you suggest, Torvald,
and then I shall have time to think what I am most in want of.
That is a very sensible plan, isn't it?
Indeed it is--that is to say, if you were
really to save out of the money I give you, and then really buy
something for yourself. But if you spend it all on the
housekeeping and any number of unnecessary things, then I merely
have to pay up again.
You can't deny it, my dear little Nora. (Puts his arm
round her waist.) It's a sweet little spendthrift, but she uses
up a deal of money. One would hardly believe how expensive such
little persons are!
It's a shame to say that. I do really save all I can.
That's very true,--all you can. But you can't
NORA. (smiling quietly and happily).
You haven't any idea how many
expenses we skylarks and squirrels have, Torvald.
You are an odd little soul. Very like your father. You
always find some new way of wheedling money out of me, and, as
soon as you have got it, it seems to melt in your hands. You
never know where it has gone. Still, one must take you as you
are. It is in the blood; for indeed it is true that you can
inherit these things, Nora.
Ah, I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities.
And I would not wish you to be anything but just what you
are, my sweet little skylark. But, do you know, it strikes me
that you are looking rather--what shall I say--rather uneasy today?
There, there, of course I was only joking.
NORA. (going to the table on the right).
I should not think of
going against your wishes.
No, I am sure of that; besides, you gave me your word--
(Going up to her.) Keep your little Christmas secrets to
yourself, my darling. They will all be revealed tonight when the
Christmas Tree is lit, no doubt.
No. But there is no need; as a matter of course he will
come to dinner with us. However, I will ask him when he comes in
this morning. I have ordered some good wine. Nora, you can't
think how I am looking forward to this evening.
So am I! And how the children will enjoy themselves, Torvald!
It is splendid to feel that one has a perfectly safe
appointment, and a big enough income. It's delightful to think
of, isn't it?
Do you remember last Christmas? For a full three weeks
beforehand you shut yourself up every evening until long after
midnight, making ornaments for the Christmas Tree, and all the
other fine things that were to be a surprise to us. It was the
dullest three weeks I ever spent!
This time I needn't sit here and be dull all alone, and
you needn't ruin your dear eyes and your pretty little hands--
NORA. (clapping her hands).
No, Torvald, I needn't any longer,
need I! It's wonderfully lovely to hear you say so! (Taking his
arm.) Now I will tell you how I have been thinking we ought to
arrange things, Torvald. As soon as Christmas is over--(A bell
rings in the hall.) There's the bell. (She tidies the room a
little.) There's some one at the door. What a nuisance!
If it is a caller, remember I am not at home.
MAID. (in the doorway).
A lady to see you, ma'am,--a stranger.
Christine! To think of my not recognising you! And yet how
could I--(In a gentle voice.) How you have altered, Christine!
Yes, I have indeed. In nine, ten long years--
Is it so long since we met? I suppose it is. The last eight
years have been a happy time for me, I can tell you. And so now
you have come into the town, and have taken this long journey in
winter--that was plucky of you.
To have some fun at Christmas-time, of course. How
delightful! We will have such fun together! But take off your
things. You are not cold, I hope. (Helps her.) Now we will sit
down by the stove, and be cosy. No, take this armchair; I will
sit here in the rocking-chair. (Takes her hands.) Now you look
like your old self again; it was only the first moment--You are a
little paler, Christine, and perhaps a little thinner.
Perhaps a little older; very, very little; certainly not
much. (Stops suddenly and speaks seriously.) What a thoughtless
creature I am, chattering away like this. My poor, dear Christine,
do forgive me.
Yes, tremendous! A barrister's profession is such an
uncertain thing, especially if he won't undertake unsavoury
cases; and naturally Torvald has never been willing to do that,
and I quite agree with him. You may imagine how pleased we are!
He is to take up his work in the Bank at the New Year, and then
he will have a big salary and lots of commissions. For the future
we can live quite differently--we can do just as we like. I feel
so relieved and so happy, Christine! It will be splendid to have
heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won't it?
Yes, anyhow I think it would be delightful to have
what one needs.
No, not only what one needs, but heaps and heaps of money.
LINDE (smiling). Nora, Nora, haven't you learned sense yet?
In our schooldays you were a great spendthrift.
Yes, that is what Torvald says now. (Wags her
finger at her.) But "Nora, Nora" is not so silly as you think. We
have not been in a position for me to waste money. We have both
had to work.
Yes; odds and ends, needlework, crotchet-work, embroidery,
and that kind of thing. (Dropping her voice.) And other things as
well. You know Torvald left his office when we were married?
There was no prospect of promotion there, and he had to try and
earn more than before. But during the first year he over-worked
himself dreadfully. You see, he had to make money every way he
could, and he worked early and late; but he couldn't stand it,
and fell dreadfully ill, and the doctors said it was necessary
for him to go south.
You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you?
Yes. It was no easy matter to get away, I can tell you. It was
just after Ivar was born; but naturally we had to go. It was a
wonderfully beautiful journey, and it saved Torvald's life. But
it cost a tremendous lot of money, Christine.
It cost about two hundred and fifty pounds. That's a lot,
Yes, and in emergencies like that it is lucky to have
I ought to tell you that we had it from papa.
Oh, I see. It was just about that time that he died,
Yes; and, just think of it, I couldn't go and nurse him. I
was expecting little Ivar's birth every day and I had my poor
sick Torvald to look after. My dear, kind father--I never saw him
again, Christine. That was the saddest time I have known since
I know how fond you were of him. And then you went
off to Italy?
Yes; you see we had money then, and the doctors insisted on
our going, so we started a month later.
And your husband came back quite well?
I thought your maid said the gentleman who arrived
here just as I did, was the doctor?
Yes, that was Doctor Rank, but he doesn't come here
professionally. He is our greatest friend, and comes in at least
once everyday. No, Torvald has not had an hour's illness since
then, and our children are strong and healthy and so am I. (Jumps
up and claps her hands.) Christine! Christine! it's good to be
alive and happy!--But how horrid of me; I am talking of nothing
but my own affairs. (Sits on a stool near her, and rests her arms
on her knees.) You mustn't be angry with me. Tell me, is it
really true that you did not love your husband? Why did you marry
My mother was alive then, and was bedridden and
helpless, and I had to provide for my two younger brothers; so I
did not think I was justified in refusing his offer.
No, perhaps you were quite right. He was rich at that time,
I believe he was quite well off. But his business was
a precarious one; and, when he died, it all went to pieces and
there was nothing left.
Well, I had to turn my hand to anything I could find-
-first a small shop, then a small school, and so on. The last
three years have seemed like one long working-day, with no rest.
Now it is at an end, Nora. My poor mother needs me no more, for
she is gone; and the boys do not need me either; they have got
situations and can shift for themselves.
No, indeed; I only feel my life unspeakably empty. No
one to live for anymore. (Gets up restlessly.) That was why I
could not stand the life in my little backwater any longer. I
hope it may be easier here to find something which will busy me
and occupy my thoughts. If only I could have the good luck to get
some regular work--office work of some kind--
But, Christine, that is so frightfully tiring, and you look
tired out now. You had far better go away to some watering-place.
MRS. LINDE (walking to the window).
I have no father to give me
money for a journey, Nora.
MRS. LINDE (going up to her).
It is you that must not be angry
with me, dear. The worst of a position like mine is that it makes
one so bitter. No one to work for, and yet obliged to be always
on the lookout for chances. One must live, and so one becomes
selfish. When you told me of the happy turn your fortunes have
taken--you will hardly believe it--I was delighted not so much on
your account as on my own.
How do you mean?--Oh, I understand. You mean that perhaps
Torvald could get you something to do.
There is no need you should. I never said I had borrowed
the money. I may have got it some other way. (Lies back on the
sofa.) Perhaps I got it from some other admirer. When anyone is
as attractive as I am--
Now, you know you're full of curiosity, Christine.
Listen to me, Nora dear. Haven't you been a little
NORA. (sits up straight).
Is it imprudent to save your husband's
It seems to me imprudent, without his knowledge, to--
But it was absolutely necessary that he should not know! My
goodness, can't you understand that? It was necessary he should
have no idea what a dangerous condition he was in. It was to me
that the doctors came and said that his life was in danger, and
that the only thing to save him was to live in the south. Do you
suppose I didn't try, first of all, to get what I wanted as if it
were for myself? I told him how much I should love to travel
abroad like other young wives; I tried tears and entreaties with
him; I told him that he ought to remember the condition I was in,
and that he ought to be kind and indulgent to me; I even hinted
that he might raise a loan. That nearly made him angry, Christine.
He said I was thoughtless, and that it was his duty as my husband
not to indulge me in my whims and caprices--as I believe he called
them. Very well, I thought, you must be saved--and that was how
I came to devise a way out of the difficulty--
And did your husband never get to know from your
father that the money had not come from him?
No, never. Papa died just at that time. I had meant to let
him into the secret and beg him never to reveal it. But he was so
ill then--alas, there never was any need to tell him.
And since then have you never told your secret to
Good Heavens, no! How could you think so? A man who has
such strong opinions about these things! And besides, how painful
and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly
independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset
our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would
no longer be what it is now.
Do you mean never to tell him about it?
NORA. (meditatively, and with a half smile).
perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as
I am now. Don't laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is
no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and
dressing-up and reciting have palled on him; then it may be a
good thing to have something in reserve--(Breaking off.) What
nonsense! That time will never come. Now, what do you think of my
great secret, Christine? Do you still think I am of no use? I can
tell you, too, that this affair has caused me a lot of worry. It
has been by no means easy for me to meet my engagements
punctually. I may tell you that there is something that is
called, in business, quarterly interest, and another thing called
payment in installments, and it is always so dreadfully difficult
to manage them. I have had to save a little here and there, where
I could, you understand. I have not been able to put aside much
from my housekeeping money, for Torvald must have a good table. I
couldn't let my children be shabbily dressed; I have felt obliged
to use up all he gave me for them, the sweet little darlings!
So it has all had to come out of your own necessaries
of life, poor Nora?
Of course. Besides, I was the one responsible for it. Whenever
Torvald has given me money for new dresses and such things, I have
never spent more than half of it; I have always bought the simplest
and cheapest things. Thank Heaven, any clothes look well on me,
and so Torvald has never noticed it. But it was often very hard
on me, Christine--because it is delightful to be really well
dressed, isn't it?
Well, then I have found other ways of earning money. Last
winter I was lucky enough to get a lot of copying to do; so I
locked myself up and sat writing every evening until quite late
at night. Many a time I was desperately tired; but all the same
it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning
money. It was like being a man.
How much have you been able to pay off in that way?
I can't tell you exactly. You see, it is very difficult to
keep an account of a business matter of that kind. I only know
that I have paid every penny that I could scrape together. Many a
time I was at my wits' end. (Smiles.) Then I used to sit here and
imagine that a rich old gentleman had fallen in love with me--
Be quiet!--that he had died; and that when his will was
opened it contained, written in big letters, the instruction:
"The lovely Mrs. Nora Helmer is to have all I possess paid over
to her at once in cash."
But, my dear Nora--who could the man be?
Good gracious, can't you understand? There was no old
gentleman at all; it was only something that I used to sit here
and imagine, when I couldn't think of any way of procuring money.
But it's all the same now; the tiresome old person can stay where
he is, as far as I am concerned; I don't care about him or his
will either, for I am free from care now. (Jumps up.) My
goodness, it's delightful to think of, Christine! Free from care!
To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able
to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house
beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it! And,
think of it, soon the spring will come and the big blue sky!
Perhaps we shall be able to take a little trip--perhaps I shall
see the sea again! Oh, it's a wonderful thing to be alive and be
happy. (A bell is heard in the hall.)
LINDE (rising). There is the bell; perhaps I had better go.
No, don't go; no one will come in here; it is sure to be
SERVANT. (at the hall door).
Excuse me, ma'am--there is a
gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is with him--
With several children. There now, it is burning up. Shuts
the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside.)
They say he carries on various kinds of business.
Really! Perhaps he does; I don't know anything about it.
But don't let us think of business; it is so tiresome.
DOCTOR RANK (comes out of HELMER'S study. Before he shuts the
door he calls to him).
No, my dear fellow, I won't disturb you; I
would rather go in to your wife for a little while. (Shuts the
door and sees Mrs. LINDE.) I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am
disturbing you too.
No, not at all. (Introducing him). Doctor Rank, Mrs. Linde.
I have often heard Mrs. Linde's name mentioned here. I
think I passed you on the stairs when I arrived, Mrs. Linde?
Yes, I go up very slowly; I can't manage stairs well.
Yes, the general opinion seems to be that it is necessary.
Look here, Doctor Rank--you know you want to live.
Certainly. However wretched I may feel, I want to prolong
the agony as long as possible. All my patients are like that. And
so are those who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad
case too, is at this very moment with Helmer--
A lawyer of the name of Krogstad, a fellow you don't know
at all. He suffers from a diseased moral character, Mrs. Helmer;
but even he began talking of its being highly important that he
Did he? What did he want to speak to Torvald about?
I have no idea; I only heard that it was something about
I didn't know this--what's his name--Krogstad had anything
to do with the Bank.
Yes, he has some sort of appointment there. (To Mrs.
LINDE.) I don't know whether you find also in your part of the
world that there are certain people who go zealously snuffing
about to smell out moral corruption, and, as soon as they have
found some, put the person concerned into some lucrative position
where they can keep their eye on him. Healthy natures are left
out in the cold.
Still I think the sick are those who most need taking
(shrugging his shoulders). Yes, there you are. That is the
sentiment that is turning Society into a sick-house.
(NORA, who has been absorbed in her thoughts, breaks out into
smothered laughter and claps her hands.)
Why do you laugh at that? Have you any notion what Society
What do I care about tiresome Society? I am laughing at
something quite different, something extremely amusing. Tell me,
Doctor Rank, are all the people who are employed in the Bank
dependent on Torvald now?
NORA. (smiling and humming).
That's my affair! (Walking about the
room.) It's perfectly glorious to think that we have--that
Torvald has so much power over so many people. (Takes the packet
from her pocket.) Doctor Rank, what do you say to a macaroon?
What, macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.
Oh, well, don't be alarmed! You couldn't know that Torvald
had forbidden them. I must tell you that he is afraid they will
spoil my teeth. But, bah!--once in a way--That's so, isn't it,
Doctor Rank? By your leave! (Puts a macaroon into his mouth.) You
must have one too, Christine. And I shall have one, just a little
one--or at most two. (Walking about.) I am tremendously happy.
There is just one thing in the world now that I should dearly
love to do.
And when she heard you had been appointed manager of the
Bank--the news was telegraphed, you know--she travelled here as
quick as she could. Torvald, I am sure you will be able to do
something for Christine, for my sake, won't you?
Well, it is not altogether impossible. I presume you are
a widow, Mrs. Linde?
MRS. LINDE (putting on her cloak).
Yes, I must go and look for a
Oh, well then, we can walk down the street together.
NORA. (helping her).
What a pity it is we are so short of space
here; I am afraid it is impossible for us--
Please don't think of it! Goodbye, Nora dear, and
Goodbye for the present. Of course you will come back this
evening. And you too, Dr. Rank. What do you say? If you are well
enough? Oh, you must be! Wrap yourself up well. (They go to the
door all talking together. Children's voices are heard on the
There they are! There they are! (She runs to open the door.
The NURSE comes in with the children.) Come in! Come in! (Stoops
and kisses them.) Oh, you sweet blessings! Look at them,
Christine! Aren't they darlings?
Come along, Mrs. Linde; the place will only be bearable
for a mother now!
(RANK, HELMER, and Mrs. LINDE go downstairs. The NURSE comes
forward with the children; NORA shuts the hall door.)
How fresh and well you look! Such red cheeks like apples
and roses. (The children all talk at once while she speaks to
them.) Have you had great fun? That's splendid! What, you pulled
both Emmy and Bob along on the sledge? --both at once?--that was
good. You are a clever boy, Ivar. Let me take her for a little,
Anne. My sweet little baby doll! (Takes the baby from the MAID
and dances it up and down.) Yes, yes, mother will dance with Bob
too. What! Have you been snowballing? I wish I had been there
too! No, no, I will take their things off, Anne; please let me do
it, it is such fun. Go in now, you look half frozen. There is
some hot coffee for you on the stove.
(The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA takes off the
children's things and throws them about, while they all talk to
her at once.)
Really! Did a big dog run after you? But it didn't bite
you? No, dogs don't bite nice little dolly children. You mustn't
look at the parcels, Ivar. What are they? Ah, I daresay you would
like to know. No, no--it's something nasty! Come, let us have a
game! What shall we play at? Hide and Seek? Yes, we'll play Hide
and Seek. Bob shall hide first. Must I hide? Very well, I'll hide
first. (She and the children laugh and shout, and romp in and out
of the room; at last NORA hides under the table, the children
rush in and out for her, but do not see her; they hear her
smothered laughter, run to the table, lift up the cloth and find
her. Shouts of laughter. She crawls forward and pretends to
frighten them. Fresh laughter. Meanwhile there has been a knock
at the hall door, but none of them has noticed it. The door is
half opened, and KROGSTAD appears, lie waits a little; the game
With me?--(To the children, gently.) Go in to nurse. What?
No, the strange man won't do mother any harm. When he has gone we
will have another game. (She takes the children into the room on
the left, and shuts the door after them.) You want to speak to
Are you? So you know all about it; I thought as much.
Then I can ask you, without beating about the bush--is Mrs. Linde
to have an appointment in the Bank?
What right have you to question me, Mr. Krogstad?--You, one
of my husband's subordinates! But since you ask, you shall know.
Yes, Mrs. Linde is to have an appointment. And it was I who
pleaded her cause, Mr. Krogstad, let me tell you that.
NORA. (walking up and down the stage).
Sometimes one has a tiny
little bit of influence, I should hope. Because one is a woman,
it does not necessarily follow that--. When anyone is in a
subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they should really be careful
to avoid offending anyone who--who--
You will be so kind as to see that I am allowed to keep
my subordinate position in the Bank.
What do you mean by that? Who proposes to take your post
away from you?
Oh, there is no necessity to keep up the pretence of
ignorance. I can quite understand that your friend is not very
anxious to expose herself to the chance of rubbing shoulders with
me; and I quite understand, too, whom I have to thank for being
It is not only for the sake of the money; indeed, that
weighs least with me in the matter. There is another reason--
well, I may as well tell you. My position is this. I daresay you
know, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was
guilty of an indiscretion.
The matter never came into court; but every way seemed
to be closed to me after that. So I took to the business that you
know of. I had to do something; and, honestly, I don't think I've
been one of the worst. But now I must cut myself free from all
that. My sons are growing up; for their sake I must try and win
back as much respect as I can in the town. This post in the Bank
was like the first step up for me--and now your husband is going
to kick me downstairs again into the mud.
But you must believe me, Mr. Krogstad; it is not in my
power to help you at all.
Then it is because you haven't the will; but I have
means to compel you.
You don't mean that you will tell my husband that I owe you
It would be perfectly infamous of you. (Sobbing.) To think
of his learning my secret, which has been my joy and pride, in
such an ugly, clumsy way--that he should learn it from you! And
it would put me in a horribly disagreeable position--
I promised to get you that amount, on certain
conditions. Your mind was so taken up with your husband's
illness, and you were so anxious to get the money for your
journey, that you seem to have paid no attention to the conditions
of our bargain. Therefore it will not be amiss if I remind you of
them. Now, I promised to get the money on the security of a bond
which I drew up.
Your father died on the 29th of September. But, look
here; your father has dated his signature the 2nd of October. It
is a discrepancy, isn't it? (NORA is silent.) Can you explain it
to me? (NORA is still silent.) It is a remarkable thing, too,
that the words "2nd of October," as well as the year, are not
written in your father's handwriting but in one that I think I
know. Well, of course it can be explained; your father may have
forgotten to date his signature, and someone else may have dated
it haphazard before they knew of his death. There is no harm in
that. It all depends on the signature of the name; and that is
genuine, I suppose, Mrs. Helmer? It was your father himself who
signed his name here?
NORA (after a short pause, throws her head up and looks defiantly
No, it was not. It was I that wrote papa's name.
Are you aware that is a dangerous confession?
In what way? You shall have your money soon.
Let me ask you a question; why did you not send the
paper to your father?
It was impossible; papa was so ill. If I had asked him for
his signature, I should have had to tell him what the money was
to be used for; and when he was so ill himself I couldn't tell
him that my husband's life was in danger--it was impossible.
It would have been better for you if you had given up
your trip abroad.
No, that was impossible. That trip was to save my husband's
life; I couldn't give that up.
But did it never occur to you that you were committing
a fraud on me?
I couldn't take that into account; I didn't trouble myself
about you at all. I couldn't bear you, because you put so many
heartless difficulties in my way, although you knew what a dangerous
condition my husband was in.
Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise clearly what
it is that you have been guilty of. But I can assure you that my
one false step, which lost me all my reputation, was nothing more
or nothing worse than what you have done.
You? Do you ask me to believe that you were brave enough to
run a risk to save your wife's life?
Foolish or not, it is the law by which you will be judged,
if I produce this paper in court.
I don't believe it. Is a daughter not to be allowed to
spare her dying father anxiety and care? Is a wife not to be
allowed to save her husband's life? I don't know much about law;
but I am certain that there must be laws permitting such things
as that. Have you no knowledge of such laws--you who are a
lawyer? You must be a very poor lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.
Maybe. But matters of business--such business as you
and I have had together--do you think I don't understand that?
Very well. Do as you please. But let me tell you this--if I lose
my position a second time, you shall lose yours with me. (He
bows, and goes out through the hall.)
NORA (appears buried in thought for a short time, then tosses her
Nonsense! Trying to frighten me like that!--I am not so
silly as he thinks. (Begins to busy herself putting the children's
things in order.) And yet--? No, it's impossible! I did it for love's sake.
THE CHILDREN (in the doorway on the left).
Mother, the stranger
man has gone out through the gate.
Yes, dears, I know. But, don't tell anyone about the stranger
man. Do you hear? Not even papa.
No, mother; but will you come and play again?
Yes, but I can't now. Run away in; I have such a lot to do.
Run away in, my sweet little darlings. (She gets them into the
room by degrees and shuts the door on them; then sits down on the
sofa, takes up a piece of needlework and sews a few stitches, but
soon stops.) No! (Throws down the work, gets up, goes to the hall
door and calls out.) Helen! bring the Tree in. (Goes to the table
on the left, opens a drawer, and stops again.) No, no! it is
MAID. (coming in with the Tree).
Where shall I put it, ma'am?
No, thank you. I have all I want. [Exit MAID.]
NORA. (begins dressing the tree).
A candle here-and flowers here--
The horrible man! It's all nonsense--there's nothing wrong. The
tree shall be splendid! I will do everything I can think of to
please you, Torvald!--I will sing for you, dance for you--(HELMER
comes in with some papers under his arm.) Oh! are you back
Didn't you tell me no one had been here? (Shakes his
finger at her.) My little songbird must never do that again. A
songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with--no false notes!
(Puts his arm round her waist.) That is so, isn't it? Yes, I am
sure it is. (Lets her go.) We will say no more about it. (Sits
down by the stove.) How warm and snug it is here! (Turns over his
NORA (after a short pause, during which she busies herself with
the Christmas Tree.)
I have got authority from the retiring manager to
undertake the necessary changes in the staff and in the
rearrangement of the work; and I must make use of the
Christmas week for that, so as to have everything in order
for the new year.
There is no one has such good taste as you. And I do so
want to look nice at the fancy-dress ball. Torvald, couldn't you
take me in hand and decide what I shall go as, and what sort of a
dress I shall wear?
Aha! so my obstinate little woman is obliged to get
someone to come to her rescue?
Yes, Torvald, I can't get along a bit without your help.
Very well, I will think it over, we shall manage to hit
That is nice of you. (Goes to the Christmas Tree. A short
pause.) How pretty the red flowers look--. But, tell me, was it
really something very bad that this Krogstad was guilty of?
He forged someone's name. Have you any idea what that
Isn't it possible that he was driven to do it by necessity?
Yes; or, as in so many cases, by imprudence. I am not so
heartless as to condemn a man altogether because of a single false
step of that kind.
Just think how a guilty man like that has to lie and play
the hypocrite with every one, how he has to wear a mask in the
presence of those near and dear to him, even before his own wife
and children. And about the children--that is the most terrible
part of it all, Nora.
It seems most commonly to be the mother's influence,
though naturally a bad father's would have the same result. Every
lawyer is familiar with the fact. This Krogstad, now, has been
persistently poisoning his own children with lies and
dissimulation; that is why I say he has lost all moral character.
(Holds out his hands to her.) That is why my sweet little Nora
must promise me not to plead his cause. Give me your hand on it.
Come, come, what is this? Give me your hand. There now, that's
settled. I assure you it would be quite impossible for me to work
with him; I literally feel physically ill when I am in the company
of such people.
NORA (takes her hand out of his and goes to the opposite side of
the Christmas Tree).
How hot it is in here; and I have such a lot
HELMER. (getting up and putting his papers in order).
Yes, and I
must try and read through some of these before dinner; and I must
think about your costume, too. And it is just possible I may have
something ready in gold paper to hang up on the Tree. (Puts his
hand on her head.) My precious little singing-bird! (He goes into
his room and shuts the door after him.)
NORA. (after a pause, whispers).
No, no--it isn't true. It's
impossible; it must be impossible.