The Greatest Miracle “A Doll’s House”
How it works
Upon the final scene of A Doll’s House, our main characters Nora and Torvald are met in a dispute involving their marriage and Nora’s stance on the matter. For the fact that Nora is now realizing that she has been kept as a child and did not love the man that she has called her husband for so long, she decides that she must leave and start a clean slate by cutting off all contact from Torvald and their children. In the last lines of the play, Nora mentions that if their marriage were ever to continue in the future that, “”Nora (taking her bag): Ah, Torvald, the most wonderful thing of all would have to happen.”” (Act 3) With this said, it leaves the audience with a bit of discretion as to whether or not the ending is ambiguous. I believe that this ending can be taken a number of ways as to either there being a chance of reunitement of the family in the future or that it has come to a quick and harsh end.
Throughout the play, Nora is seemably treated like Torvald’s toy, hence the name “”A Doll’s House””. Between Torvald’s misogyny and Mrs. Linde’s referral to Nora as a child, it is clear to the reader that Nora is extremely underdeveloped and is living under Torvald’s protective umbrella. This noted, “”The Greatest Miracle”” can be interpreted as Nora experiencing life on her own and growing into a woman and not just a child. Apart from Nora’s growth as a woman, it would also include Torvald’s growth of respect towards Nora as a human being and not just as his play doll. If this miracle were to happen and time were able to erase the pain in Nora’s heart, then there would be a chance that the family could reunite. In fact, after Nora discovers Torvald’s reaction to the letter from Krogstad, it is clear that she does not believe her marriage to be “”real”” as shown when she states, “”Nora: That our life together would be a real wedlock. Goodbye.”” (Act 3) After and only after “”The Greatest Miracle”” were to happen as stated above, then the two could experience a real marriage. This leaves a window open at the end of the play to believe that the two may possibly come together again in the future. In the dialogue between the two, Nora specifically states that she will still think about Torvald and the children which is an indicator that there is still a bond that could be saved in the family. It is not that Nora wants to leave her home, but rather that she must in order to find herself.
How it works
Another way to interpret the ending of this play is to see that Nora truly is too far gone and that she will never return. She completely alienates Torvald as she states, “”Nora: No. I can receive nothing from a stranger.”” (Act 3) By using this choice of dialogue, Nora declares Torvald as someone she no longer knows. If she had any intent of reuniting with the family later in life, I do not believe that she would choose to reject Torvald in such a drastic manner. When using this context, now the reader can conclude that “”The Greatest Miracle”” is a myth and is not achievable, merely mentioned by Nora in order to taunt the now heartbroken Torvald as to say that he could never change and that it would be a miracle if it could happen.. Under this interpretation, the miracle is stated in order to emphasize the fact that the two will not meet again because this miracle simply cannot be done. Nora realizes that if she stays, Torvald will never have the respect for her that she should have as a woman. Though he takes care of her, it is more as a daughter than a wife and she wishes to see life from a new perspective that she cannot obtain while staying married to Torvald.
The idea of an ending where the two do not meet again is very convincing when we take into account Mrs. Linde. This is a Foil character to Nora which can foreshadow events even past the plays end. As Mrs. Linde grows closer to Krogstad and learns to love him again, Nora drifts away from her marriage. Based on what we are given, we can infer that the love for Krogstad that Mrs. Linde shows is genuine, so according to how this character connects with Nora we can assume that the exact opposite will happen in her case.
After assessing both endings, I find reason to believe that the ultimate ending is that the family will end up reuniting in the distant future. Time will take its toll and the two will grow. While Torvald was not capable of change while the two were together, we find an interesting bit of dialogue between the two that seems promising.
“”Helmer: I have it in me to become a different man.
Nora: Perhaps– if your doll is taken away from you”” (Act 3)
Nora knows that if she stays, neither of the two will grow, the greatest miracle can only happen when the couple is separated. This quote directly links to the cliche “”You only know what you had after you lose it””. Though Torvald cannot change his ways if Nora stays, the departure of his love may in fact be enough to sway him. Likewise, though Nora cannot learn to grow as an individual if she stays, facing the world on her own will guarantee growth. This leads me to come to the conclusion that the ultimate ending will be a change in character in the two thereby leading to their paths crossing again. Just as Mrs. Linde did with Krogstad. This couple may quite be the foreshadowing of the Helmer’s as she was widowed, learned to provide for herself but then was allowed to return to her relationship. After a long departure, Mrs. Linde was able to grow and in turn was able to reunite with her love. So as will be with the Helmer’s. Torvald will realize that he was taking Nora for granted and will change his ways and Nora will get her chance to experience the world without being controlled or influenced by a man.
Though the ultimate ending to this play is not explicitly stated, I believe it to be a positive one. I think that the greatest miracle will happen and the two will end up loving each other in a new and true light will equal respect for one another. However, there is still a tragedy to this ending and that is residing with the children. Regardless of what their desires are, they have effectively just lost their mother. Though she may return in the future, it seems that they will not be able to contact her for a very long time meaning they will be raised without their real mother. Apart from this, all other tragedy will be temporary.
Though the ending can be up for interpretation, I personally believe that the two’s paths will cross again. When mentioning the greatest miracle, though it seems far fetched at this point in time, I believe that the couple will grow and reconnect with a stronger bond built off of mutual respect for one another. It is evident that this is only possible through separation and time and that is what the couple is receiving so I believe that it makes sense to conclude that the couple will reunite.