A Doll’s House Quotes

Quotations, or quotes, are representative phrases and sentences that illuminate the main ideas and beliefs writers employ to convey their messages to the audience. In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, a variety of quotes exemplify its themes, ideas, and perspectives. Below, we delve into some of these quotes:

Quotes in A Doll’s House

Quote #1

“Yes – some day, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as pretty as I am now. Don’t laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve Definition: Set aside or saved for a later purpose or time.

Example: Nora plans to keep something "in reserve" for the time when Torvald's affection diminishes.

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Nora, the protagonist, responds to Mrs. Linde’s query about her readiness to face the future with Torvald. She reveals the truth behind the debt and envisions a time when her beauty fades and Torvald’s affection wanes. She intends to preserve her story for that moment, showcasing Nora's realistic character.

Quote #2

“To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it!”


Nora expresses her anticipation of freedom from worries after repaying her debt to Krogstad. Unaware of the impending revelation of her debt, she associates Torvald's happiness with maintaining a beautiful home, adding a layer of dramatic irony Definition: A situation where the audience knows something that the characters in the story do not, creating tension and often humor.

Example: Nora's expectation of Torvald's happiness due to the home's beauty contrasts with the audience's knowledge of her impending debt revelation.

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Quote #3

“Your squirrel would run about and do all her tricks Definition: Clever or skillful actions done to entertain or deceive.

Example: Nora refers to her actions as "tricks" to keep Torvald in the dark about her financial situation.

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if you would be nice and do as she wants.”


Nora tries to distract her husband, Torvald, as she hides the truth of her debt and deals with Krogstad.

Quote #4

“It is no use lying to one’s self. I am the most wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. Lately, I have been taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt!”


Dr. Rank speaks to Nora and reveals that her husband, Torvald, is going to die soon. Nora realizes the depth of their affection for each other and the protection they've provided through lies, showcasing a form of irony.

Quote #5

“How should you understand it? A wonderful thing is going to happen!”


Nora confides in Mrs. Linde, expressing her confusion and hope for a positive turn of events. She desires Torvald to take responsibility for her actions, but her expectations are unmet as she decides to leave her husband.

Quote #6

“Why shouldn’t I look at my dearest treasure? – at all the beauty that is mine, all my very own?”


Torvald Helmer uses these words to compliment Nora, highlighting his deep affection for her. However, his possessive language portrays a skewed perception of love, in contrast to Dr. Rank's more respectful attitude towards her.

Quote #7

“There is a big black hat — have you never heard of hats that make you invisible? If you put one on, no one can see you.”


Dr. Rank engages Nora in a cryptic conversation using symbolic language. He implies that he won't attend the next fancy-dress ball due to his health condition, signifying his impending death.

Quote #8

“Do you know, Nora, I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life’s blood, and everything, for your sake.”


Torvald expresses his willingness to protect Nora at any cost, driven by his admiration for her beauty. However, his response to her debt revelation challenges his earlier sentiment, revealing his true priorities.

Quote #9

“From this moment, happiness is not the question; all that concerns us is to save the remains, the fragments, the appearance.”


After learning of the debt, Torvald shifts his focus to preserving appearances rather than pursuing happiness. He proposes an arrangement that maintains their societal image but lacks genuine connection.

Quote #10

“I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you wanted it like that. You and father have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life. Our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was father’s doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls.”


Nora confronts Torvald about her suppressed desires and the roles she has been confined to. She likens her existence to being a doll, both as Torvald's wife and her father's daughter, highlighting her lack of agency and regret for an unfulfilled life.

Study Guide

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