In A Doll's House, what is the “miracle of miracles” of which Nora speaks near the end of the play?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The "miracle of miracles" is that Torvald Helmer would love his wife Nora as an equal—that is, he must recognize her as a person, not as a "doll wife."

Near the end of Act III of A Doll's House, the "wonderful thing" for which Nora hopes is that her husband will demonstrate an unselfish love for her after he understands her past actions. Such a love would be comparable to the love she has for him, and their living together "would become a true marriage." She hopes that when Torvald reads Krogstad's letter, a wonderful thing will happen: her husband will tell Krogstad, "Publish the thing to the whole world," and he will sacrifice his honor because he understands that Nora procured the loan to enable him to get well in a warmer climate. But this does not occur. Only when he receives the second letter from Krogstad, which promises that no action will be taken, does Torvald forgive her.

NORA: 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....

Since nothing in their relationship has changed, Nora tells her husband that she is leaving, and she returns her wedding ring to him. When Torvald asks her if he cannot be more than a stranger to her, Nora replies,

NORA Ah, Torvald, the most wonderful thing of all would have to happen.... Both you and I would have to be so changed.... That our life together would be a real wedlock. Good-bye.

Nora has no chance for individuality in her marriage, so she parts from her husband and her children in order to discover herself and no longer be a "doll."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the conclusion of the play, Nora speaks to Torvald of "the wonderful thing" that she had waited for patiently for eight years during their marriage. When her secret came out about the illegal loan she had taken from the bank, Nora explains, she thought "the wonderful thing" might happen then, but it had not:

It was to-night, when the wonderful thing did not happen; then I saw you were not the man I had thought you were.

As her conversation with Torvald continues, Nora tells him what "the wonderful thing" would have been:

. . . I was so absolutely certain [sic] you would come forward and take everything upon yourself, and say: I am the guilty one.

What Nora had longed for was proof that her husband loved her for the person she was, even more than he loved himself, instead of relating to her as a "doll-wife" and source of amusement. After eight years of living in a superficial marriage, Nora needed truth and validation. When "the wonderful thing" did not occur, Nora saw Torvald for the totally self-centered man he really was, concerned only for himself. At that point, Nora stops waiting for anything wonderful to come of her marriage; she leaves her husband. She says it would take the "miracle of all miracles" to bring them together again, and she no longer believes in miracles.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial