A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act III

HELMER.
Both yours and the children's, my darling Nora.

NORA.
Alas, Torvald, you are not the man to educate me into being a proper wife for you.

HELMER.
And you can say that!

NORA.
And I — how am I fitted to bring up the children?

HELMER.
Nora!

NORA.
Didn't you say so yourself a little while ago — that you dare not trust me to bring them up?

HELMER.
In a moment of anger! Why do you pay any heed to that?

NORA.
Indeed, you were perfectly right. I am not fit for the task. There is another task I must undertake first. I must try and educate myself — you are not the man to help me in that. I must do that for myself. And that is why I am going to leave you now.

HELMER.
(springing up). What do you say?

NORA.
I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and everything about me. It is for that reason that I cannot remain with you any longer.

HELMER.
Nora, Nora!

NORA.
I am going away from here now, at once. I am sure Christine will take me in for the night —

HELMER.
You are out of your mind! I won't allow it! I forbid you!

NORA.
It is no use forbidding me anything any longer. I will take with me what belongs to myself. I will take nothing from you, either now or later.

HELMER.
What sort of madness is this!

NORA.
Tomorrow I shall go home — I mean to my old home. It will be easiest for me to find something to do there.

HELMER.
You blind, foolish woman!

NORA.
I must try and get some sense, Torvald.

HELMER.
To desert your home, your husband and your children! And you don't consider what people will say!

NORA.
I cannot consider that at all. I only know that it is necessary for me.

HELMER.
It's shocking. This is how you would neglect your most sacred duties.

NORA.
What do you consider my most sacred duties?

HELMER.
Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your husband and your children?

NORA.
I have other duties just as sacred.

HELMER.
That you have not. What duties could those be?

NORA.
Duties to myself.

HELMER.
Before all else, you are a wife and mother.

NORA.
I don't believe that any longer. I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are — or, at all events, that I must try and become one. I know quite well, Torvald, that most people would think you right, and that views of that kind are to be found in books; but I can no longer content myself with what most people say, or with what is found in books. I must think over things for myself and get to understand them.

HELMER.
Can you not understand your place in your own home? Have you not a reliable guide in such matters as that? — have you no religion?

NORA.
I am afraid, Torvald, I do not exactly know what religion is.

HELMER.
What are you saying?

NORA.
I know nothing but what the clergyman said, when I went to be confirmed. He told us that religion was this, and that, and the other. When I am away from all this, and am alone, I will look into that matter too. I will see if what the clergyman said is true, or at all events if it is true for me.

HELMER.
This is unheard of in a girl of your age! But if religion cannot lead you aright, let me try and awaken your conscience. I suppose you have some moral sense? Or — answer me — am I to think you have none?

NORA.
I assure you, Torvald, that is not an easy question to answer. I really don't know. The thing perplexes me altogether. I only know that you and I look at it in quite a different light. I am learning, too, that the law is quite another thing from what I supposed; but I find it impossible to convince myself that the law is right. According to it a woman has no right to spare her old dying father, or to save her husband's life. I can't believe that.

HELMER.
You talk like a child. You don't understand the conditions of the world in which you live.

NORA.
No, I don't. But now I am going to try. I am going to see if I can make out who is right, the world or I.

HELMER.
You are ill, Nora; you are delirious; I almost think you are out of your mind.

NORA.
I have never felt my mind so clear and certain as to-night.

HELMER.
And is it with a clear and certain mind that you forsake your husband and your children?

NORA.
Yes, it is.

HELMER.
Then there is only one possible explanation.

NORA.
What is that?

HELMER.
You do not love me any more.

NORA.
No, that is just it.

HELMER.
Nora! — and you can say that?

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