Quotations of “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen


A Doll’s House is an act written by Henrik Ibsen from Norway. The play is important as it examines the life of a married woman who has limited access to fulfilling her dreams as a woman in a world where the male gender dominates, therefore the play appears to be a feminist one. This paper uses the quote “From now on, forget happiness. Now it’s just about saving the remains, the wreckage, the appearance.” The quote is vital in the play as it presents to the reader about the themes and the character traits as Ibsen signified in the play.

Main Discussion

The quote represents Tovarld’s words in act three of the play. He says this after discovering Nora’s forgery and Krogstad’s potential to expose her (Ibsen 109). Torvald is a newly promoted bank manager and Nora’s husband. Nora has three children, and she lives against the known characters and expectations of a wife in the 19th century. Krogstad is one of the employees at Torvald’s bank, a single father who is revealed to be a long-lost lover of Kristine. Torvald’s interaction and how they converse with Nora proves that his attraction to her is based on her appearance in terms of beauty and he is very proud of the appearance of his wife.

Tovarld takes his pride in the beauty of his wife in a personal way (Ibsen 110). This shows how he looks at his wife as an object of beauty and presentation. For example, Tovarld says “it’s splendid to be back in our own home to be quite alone together. Oh, you enchanting creature” (Ibsen 110). He does not see the usefulness of his wife in other ways, even though Nora is the mother of his children. Nora now understands that when her beauty fades with age, her importance to her husband will decrease as well and he might start mistreating her.

Torvald’s reaction towards Krogstad’s letter presents him as a man with poor reasoning, who is concerned with the physical appearance of people. He even says that the “appearance of happiness is more important than the happiness itself” (Ibsen 112). This brings out the character traits of Torvald in the play clearly is an individual with exaggerated pride in himself, and a hypocrite (Ibsen 112). He is also egocentric and believes that other people’s opinion does not matter. The quotation is therefore important to the play as it presents the important character traits of Torvald and his relationship with his wife and other people.

The quotation is important in bringing up different themes in the play. For instance, the theme of pride, Torvald is proud of Nora’s appearance as if she was a unique piece of jewelry to an extend that he is afraid when Nora’s scandal is threatened to be exposed. For example, Tovarld says, “it’s splendid to be back in our own home to be quite alone together. Oh, you enchanting creature” (Ibsen 122) He is afraid because he does not want to lose his pride but to maintain the high reputation that Nora has for the people. Torvald even rejects her wife and refuses to accept her imperfections when she needs her support most. His pride cannot allow him to see the worth of his wife at this time (Ibsen 120). Nora is however, motivated to be deceitful by an act of trying to save her husband’s life.

Honor is another theme that is brought out by quotation. To Torvald, honor is very important, and it is the motive behind his behavior (Ibsen 39). He cannot recognize the sacrifice that his wife has made for him, but only looks at his family’s reputation. For example, Torvaldo tells Nora: “When are among strangers do you know why I speak to 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 guesses there is anything between us” (Ibsen 39). Love, marriage, and family are of less importance to him as compared to honor. From the quote, it is evident that he is displeased with his wife’s mistake and how is willing to do anything to protect the honor he has. At the beginning of the play, the theme of honor is also seen when Torvald sacks Krogstad due to lack of honor. Torvald’s first interest is his honor above everything else.

Deceit and lies are also supported by the quote as themes throughout the whole play. Krogstad has committed a forgery which is a form of lie that ruins his reputation to the people. The theme is also shown by other characters in the play. Nora tells repeated lies in fear of being exposed, and this puts her marriage in distress. To confirm the lies Torvald says, “During all the eight years she who was my pride and my joy a hypocrite a liar worse a criminal!” (Ibsen 122). Nora borrowed money to finance a trip to Italy from Krogstad and she hides this from her husband making her deceitful. Dr. Rank is also deceitful, he lies to Nora and her husband about his feelings towards Nora until Nora finds out the truth when she asks for financial assistance from the doctor. The doctor had been lusting for Nora for many years.

Torvald’s anger, in the quote, is raised after realizing his wife had borrowed money from Krogstad. This helps to bring out the theme of money and materialism. This debt that Nora owes Krogstad enables him to have power over her and her husband (Ibsen 107). Torvald says, “I am in the power of scoundrel, he can do whatever he please with me, demand whatever he chooses and I must submit” (Ibsen 107). The women in ability to raise as much money as men also makes them have less power, Money and material things in the whole play are portrayed as a source of power and honor in the society. Money is also dangerous as it becomes a source of shame and terror to Nora’s family due to the debt (Ibsen 107). Torvald focuses on material things and money, and his financial stability is even more important than people. His view on a man’s ability is based on financial stability.

The women’s sacrificial role is also a theme that is brought out in the quote. Nora borrowed money to protect the life of his husband; this is a form of sacrifice that she had to do to save her family. Nora confirms her sacrifice by saying “I have you loved before all else in the world” to Torvald when he realizes the truth in the letter about the debt and confronts her (Ibsen 116). She is even forced to hide the debt because she knew her husband could not accept the idea that she had saved her life. She had also to sacrifice and work secretly to repay the debt since it was illegal for a woman to borrow money without informing the husband. Nora also had sacrificed all her ideas and visions and adopted those of her husband as her own.

The theme of parental obligations is also addressed through the quote. The play suggests that one’s parents can pass their moral behavior to their children. From the quote, Torvald has learned about his wife’s deceitfulness when she realizes that she borrowed money without informing her. He then tells Nora that “almost everyone who has gone to the bad early has had a deceitful mother.” warning her against passing her lies to their children. Torvald also says “your father’s dishonesty you have inherited no religion no morality no sense of duty” (Ibsen 39). By this he links Nora’s deceitful character to her parents. Another character that brings out the theme as it has been brought out in the quote is Dr. Rank, who believes that he has a disease as a result of his father’s wickedness of having affairs with different women. He believes that his father contracted the disease from these women and infected him, making him suffer for his father’s immorality.


The quote helps in bringing out many themes and character traits in the play. Men’s reputation, honor, and respect have to be protected regardless of the cost it brings to the oppressed. Women do not have an obligation but to follow the ideas of their husbands. Tying to help her husband, Nora puts herself in distressing moments as the husband does not want to be seen as weak man who receives help from his wife. In the lay, women also have to sacrifice so much to ensure that their families and husbands are protected, a theme, which is also brought out in the quote (Ibsen 120). Pride from the quote makes Torvald oppress her wife as he does not want to lose his reputation and honor because of having borrowed a loan.

Work Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. 13th ed., Global Classics, 2014.

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"Quotations of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen." Premium Papers, 9 Nov. 2022, premium-papers.com/quotations-of-a-dolls-house-by-henrik-ibsen/.


Premium Papers. (2022) 'Quotations of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen'. 9 November.


Premium Papers. 2022. "Quotations of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen." November 9, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/quotations-of-a-dolls-house-by-henrik-ibsen/.

1. Premium Papers. "Quotations of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen." November 9, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/quotations-of-a-dolls-house-by-henrik-ibsen/.


Premium Papers. "Quotations of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen." November 9, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/quotations-of-a-dolls-house-by-henrik-ibsen/.