In this definitive scene, the naïve yet often contriving Nora has a startling epiphany. She once believed that her husband was a proverbial knight in shining armor, and that she was an equally devoted wife.
Through a series of emotionally draining events, she realizes that their relationship and their feelings were more make believe than real.
In this monologue from Henrik Ibsen’s play, she opens up to her husband with stunning frankness as she realizes that she has been living in “A Doll’s House.”
It is perfectly true, Torvald. When I was at home with papa, he told me his opinion about everything, and so I had the same opinions; and if I differed from him I concealed the fact, because he would not have liked it. He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you—
I mean that I was simply transferred from papa’s hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste, and so I got the same tastes as you–or else I pretended to, I am really not quite sure which–I think sometimes the one and sometimes the other. When I look back on it, it seems to me as if I had been living here like a poor woman–just from hand to mouth. I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.
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!