In Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, what miracle, or wonderful thing does Nora expect to happen toward the end of the play?  

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, in Act II, when Nora tells Mrs. Linde that a "wonderful thing is going to happen...a wonderful...but" also "terrible"thing"(Act II), she is referring to a two part miracle she is expecting to happen.

The first part of the miracle is that her husband will soon learn of the wonderful sacrifice Nora made for him, all on account of love.

The second part of the miracle relates to what Krogstad has taught Nora to expect as a consequence of her forgery. In the first act of the play, Ibsen draws an interesting parallel between Nora and Krogstad. Krogstad is viewed as a character with a poor reputation. As Krogstad states it, Nora "knows, like everybody else, that once, many years ago, I was guilty of an indiscretion" (Act I). Krogstad further explains that the indiscretion society has been punishing him for, through poor reputation, was exactly like Nora's act of forgery. He too, committed a fraud to try and save his wife's life. Krogstad warns Nora that if Krogstad were to inform her husband of Nora's fraud, Nora's fraud would ruin her husband's reputation. The second part of the miracle Nora expects is that she believes Torvald will gladly accept the fall of his reputation, because he understands that Nora committed the fraud out of love for him.

However, Nora also expects that she will be able to prevent the demise of her husband's character and protect him from the weight of the law. The terrible thing she is also expecting is that she will leave her husband and children and even commit suicide to prevent society from learning about her fraud, thus protecting her husband and children. Nora's plans become evident during her conversation with Krogstad in the second act. Krogstad asks Nora if she had it in "mind to run away from your home...or even something worse" and goes on further to describe her as being found in the river "all horrible and unrecognisable, with your hair fallen out" (Act II). Hence, the miracle Nora expects is two fold and ends in something horrible.

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question is interesting as it suggests that Nora's "wonderful thing" can be understood as a "miracle," which is actually a revealing lens through which we can analyze Nora's desire to be seen, understood and appreciated as a person in her own right.

On one level, Nora's "wonderful thing" describes her hope for a husband who loves her and appreciates her for who she is and not only for her femininity and doll-like appeal. Unfortunately for Nora, this hope is doomed from the start, as evidenced by the title of the play, A Doll's House. Torvald does indeed treat Nora like an empty-headed plaything, and he does not see her for who she is.

When it becomes clear that Torvald does not see Nora in the way that she needs to be seen, she leaves Torvald. Perhaps her following through has actually delivered to Nora  her miracle of freedom and independence. By the end of the play, it doesn't matter that Torvald doesn't see her for who she is; Nora got her "wonderful thing" after all, as she now can see, understand and appreciate her own self for all the potential she has to offer.

hawra | Student

In Act 2 Nora keeps repeating the term miracle which, at the time, was very ambiguous and puzzling for me. Later on in Act 3 I understood that the miracle she was hoping for was that Torvald would be noble and share the blame when the "truth" was exposed.

bhogan | Student

I also believe that Nora was hoping that Torvald would step forward and offer to shoulder the blame.  It truly would have been a miracle because he was so judgmental and confined by concern about how he was regarded by society.

larraine1 | Student

A marriage of equality

Read the study guide:
A Doll's House

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question