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Act 4 of A Doll's House
by Subhanna Taveras (taveras.subhanna@mcm.edu)

Rated: PG   Genre: Drama   User Review:

Act IV of A Doll's House

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

The setting is the Helmer house, in the kitchen. Torvald has
remarried, and his new wife, Genevieve, who is many years
his junior, converses with the old maid. She laments that
today is the the 10th anniversary of Nora's leaving, as
Torvald always seems to be in a particularly foul mood
around this time of year.
I just don't understand what the
big deal is anyway. It's been 10
years, for goodness sake! If you
ask me, he should've been over it
10 years ago.
      (Shaking her head)
Now, now, Genevieve, that man has
a right to be upset on the
anniversary of his wife's leaving.
      (With an emphasis
       on the word ex)
His ex-wife, Ann-Marie! I am his
wife now and he shouldn't still be
upset over that sorry old cow who
left him all those years ago. I'm
here now, what reason has he to be
upset? I do everything to make him
happy and to please him, and I'm
overlooked for an old,
dishonorable wench. It's
Well she was his first wife and
the mother of his children,
Genevieve, the man is bound to
have some lingering feelings. And
mind your tongue, the lady Nora
may be long gone, but she still
deserves your respect, and I will
not allow you to speak of her in
such a way.
      (Her face turning
Oh I know, Ann-Marie, I know, I
just get so jealous! I wish he
would show such devotion to me.


                       GENEVIEVE (cont'd)
Sometimes I wonder whether I will
ever mean to him what she did.
      (Turning away from
       Ann-Marie and
       staring out the
       window herself.)
Some days I catch him staring out
the window as if he's longing for
something, or someone. Someone
that's not me.
      (Spinning back
       around to face
Oh, it just isn't fair, Ann-Marie!
      (With a sigh)
I know, dear, I know. I'm afraid
Nora's leaving had a lasting
effect on Torvald. Try to be
patient with him; he'll come
around eventually. And be extra
good to him today, will you?
I've been patient. It's been 4
years since we've been married,and
every year on this day he's
absolutely horrid to me! Why
should I be good to him? Just this
morning he snapped at me, and for
no reason at all! I was simply
trying to help him fix his tie and
he got upset and said I wasn't
doing it right, even though I
swear I was Ann-Marie!
      (With tears
       beginning to well
       in her eyes)
He said I was an incompetent,
silly little girl, and that he'd
do it himself. Oh it's so unfair,
Genevieve, it's so unfair!
      (Begins to sob
Now, now, Genevieve, stop your
blubbering! Torvald will be home
any minute and you know how he
hates it when you cry. You are his
wife, Genevieve, for better or
worse; you must be mature and take


                       ANN-MARIE (cont'd)
all that comes with it. After all,
it was your father who insisted on
the marriage.
      (Still crying,
       although it has
       now simmered down
       to a pitiful
He never would have agreed if he
had known I would be treated so
      (Rolling her eyes)
Now you're just being dramatic.
Torvald treats you
wonderfully...most of the time.
I just don't understand. Why would
she leave him? He doesn't talk of
her much, but when he does, he
speaks with such love in his
voice. He never speaks to me like
It's complicated what happened.
And frankly, not much of your
concern, which is probably why
Torvald never told you. Don't
worry yourself over Nora. She's
gone now.
       excited as she
       finally realizes
       that she can get
       information on
       Nora from
But why would she do it? She had
everything she could've wanted: a
house, a loving and successful
husband, 3 children. What more
could a woman ask for?


      (Looking somewhat
       nervous and
       refusing to look
       Genevieve in the
How should I know why she did it?
Or why anyone does anything? It
wasn't my business to know 20
years ago, and it isn't my
business to know now. And that's
all I have to say on the matter.
Mary-Anne is just beginning to open her mouth to ask another
intrusive question when the front door is heard being
opened, as well as the sound of a child's laughter. A moment
later, in walks Agnes, the nanny, and Emilie, Genevieve's
daughter. She runs into her mother's arms and begins
chattering excitedly about her day.
And then, mommy, I recited my
whole ABCs!
      (Wiping the tears
       left from her
Oh, Emilie, dear, that's
wonderful! I'll have Ann-Marie
make lemon cakes for dessert
tomorrow as a treat. You deserve
it, my little pumpkin. Come, you
can recite them again for Mommy.
Genevieve shoots Ann-Marie one last wistful look as she and
Emilie exit stage. Agnes quickly follows after, leaving
Ann-Marie alone. She sighs, relieved that Emilie interrupted
and saved her from having to get into the sordid details of
Nora's leaving, and begins to prepare dinner, with the
thought of Nora and what happened all those years ago still
fresh on her mind.
Torvald, Genevieve, Emmy, and Emilie are at the dining table
eating dinner. Torvald pensively eats his food as Genevieve
sneaks nervous glances at him. Emmy also appears to be in a
rather subdued mood. Emilie, who is feeding bits of her food


to the dog, is the only one who seems to be oblivious to the
somber atmosphere.
      (With a frustrated
For goodness sake, will you stop
feeding that goddamn dog, Emilie?
You're going to make him sick and
I'll have to spend a fortune
trying to get him well again.
But daddy, he's hungry.
      (She continues
       feeding the dog)
      (Slamming his fist
       down on the
       table, hard
       enough for it to
I said that's enough, Emilie!
      (Emilies begins to
Torvald! How could you yell at her
that way, you monster?
      (She rushes out of
       her chair to
       comfort her
I'm tired of you! Of all of you!
You're just like my dreadful
ex-wife, always thinking of new
ways to empty my pockets!
      (Emptying his
       pockets of coins
       and notes and
       throwing them on
       the table)
Well, there you go! Take it all
and leave, just like she did!
And with that, Torvald violently pushes his chair out and
storms out of the room, presumably to his study to indulge
in some whiskey, a nightly ritual on days like these.
Genevieve continues to comfort Emilie, who is still crying,
and stares at the door Torvald left out of in shocked


silence. Emmy looks down at her food with tears silently
falling into her food. Anne-Marie, drawn by the commotion,
enters the room.
What is going on in here?
      (Shaking her head
       in disbelief)
Torvald is out of control.
What do you mean? Why is there
money all over the table?
I told you! Torvald is out of
control. He yelled at my dear
      (She holds her
       daughter closer)
Ann-Marie looks at Emilie, sighs, and goes out the room. She
returns moments later with Agnes. Agnes goes to Emilie,
takes her from Genevieve's arms, and leaves the room.
Ann-Marie then walks to the table and sits down, something
she has never done in all of her 40 years of working for the
Helmers, and takes a deep breath.
Come, sit down child, and I will
tell you all about what happened
with Nora.
      (Goes to sit down)
Today is the first time I heard
him talk negatively of her. What
did she do?
Nora got into some financial
trouble years ago, back before she
had left Torvald. You see, Torvald
had gotten very sick one year, and
there was only one way to save
him, but it was expensive and he
didn't have the money to afford
it. And Nora, being the loving
soul she was, couldn't accept that
her husband would die. Obviously,
being a woman, she couldn't take
out a loan on her own. So she


                       ANN-MARIE (cont'd)
forged her recently deceased
father's signature in order to get
the money. Needless to say, some
time passed, and then it all came
into the light. And at that point,
Nora decided that she didn't want
to live the way she had been
leaving anymore. So after it all
came out, she left, and never
looked back.
So you see, dear. It's not that
Torvald doesn't care for you. It's
just that he never really got over
Nora and all that happened. And he
never understood why she left. Why
she wanted more. He couldn't
understand why this house and her
kids wasn't enough. He still
doesn't understand it. I can't say
I understand it one hundred
percent myself. All I know is that
Nora believed that there was more
to life than just being a wife and
mother. I hope she was right, and
this wasn't all for nothing.
With that, Ann-Marie goes out through the kitchen door and
shuts it silently behind her. Emilie and Mary-Anne remain
quiet as they think of all that they just heard.
As Ann-Marie moves from the kitchen to the entrance hall,
thinking of Nora, who was like a daughter to her, she hears
3 quiet but firm knocks on the door. She goes to open it,
wondering who it could be, as it has just begun raining. As
she opens it, she wonders how it could've gotten so bad so
fast, as the day had been warm and sunny.
Yes, may I help-
      (Ann-Marie stops
       short, caught
       completely off
       guard. She takes
       a step back,
       clutching at her
       chest, and
       Ann-Marie is an
       older lady, and


                       ANN-MARIE (cont'd)
       it appears as if
       the shock is
       almost too much
       for her to
Hello, Ann-Marie.
      (She steps into
       the house and
       helps a still
       Ann-Marie into a
       chair. Nora
       different. The
       difference goes
       beyond the
       physical; her
       very essence has
       changed. Her head
       is held higher,
       her back
       straighter. She
       moves with an air
       of confidence and
       authority that
       she never had
You must be shocked to see me. I
see I gave you a dreadful fright.
      (She chuckles.)
It's nice to see you're the same
old Ann-Marie.
      (Ann-Marie just
       then begins to
Oh, Nora, I never thought I'd see
you again. Oh, how my heart has
ached since you left. I can't
believe you are here!
      (She reaches out
       to touch her.)
Why have you come?
      (Looking towards
       the back rooms of
       the house)


                       NORA (cont'd)
I've come to see my children. I
told myself I had to leave to
better myself, and I did. I told
myself the children didn't deserve
a mother like me, a mother who
wasn't even a human being. But
I've grown since I've gone, and
I'm more human now than I've ever
been. And I want to see my
      (Beginning to
       recover from the
Nora, I'm so happy you are here.
You have no idea how much it
pained me to see you leave all
those years ago.
I know, Ann-Marie. I have missed
you too, believe me. You were a
mother to me when I had none, as
I'm sure you were a mother to my
children when they didn't have me.
      (Smiling sadly.)
Yes, I was mother to them. It
broke their little hearts when you
left. I don't think little Emmy
ever recovered. But it is too
painful to talk of the past; let's
focus on the now. Emmy is in the
dining room. And the boys are off
to school. But there is something
you should know, Nora dear.
      (Nora is no longer
       paying attention,
       looking wistfully
       towards the
       dining room.)
How I've longed for this day.
Sometimes I lost hope. Some days I
I wondered if I could ever become
more than what I was, more than
what Papa and Torvald had made me.
Some days I wanted to give in, and
go back. I missed the kids and I
almost convinced myself to come


                       NORA (cont'd)
back, for them. But it was them
that kept me away. I wanted to be
more than just a mother, more than
just a wife, because I wanted
Emmmy to grow up to know that
there was more to being a woman
than getting married and having
children. And I wanted my dear
Bobby and Ivar to know that women
are more than just play things.
And after all this time, I am
finally more than what I was. I'm
ready. It's time to show my
children who I am.
      (Moves towards the
Nora, wait!
      (Moves to
       intercept her.)
Listen to me now, Nora, dear. Much
has changed since you left.
Torvald has remarried and had
another child.
      (Looking initially
       shocked, and then
       smiling ever so
Why should I be surprised? He's a
man after all. If he feels he
wants to take on another wife, it
is his prerogative. I am here to
see my children, not Torvald. The
boys aren't even here, which I'll
admit, is a disappointment, but I
will see Emmy.
And with that, Nora brushes off Ann-Marie and moves towards
the dining room. Ann-Marie sighs, noting that her dear Nora
is stubborn as ever, but much changed since she left. She
can see that Nora will no longer be told what she can and
cannot do. And although relieved that she was back,
Ann-Marie follows anxiously behind as Nora opens the door to
the dining room.


Nora and Ann-Marie enter the dining room to see that Emmy
and Genevieve have yet to move. Genevieve and Emmy turn to
look at where Nora and Ann-Marie have just come in. The food
remains on the table, long cold, as well as the coins. Nora
looks right past the mess to Emmy, and Emmy stares back with
a look of disbelief that echoes Ann-Marie's own shocked
expression from earlier. Genevieve looks first at Ann-Marie
in confusion, and then back and forth from Emmy to Nora.
Ann-Marie, who is this?
I am Nora Helmer, Torvald's first
wife. You must be his new wife. I
apologize for barging in this way,
but you see, it was of paramount
importance to me that I see my
      (Abruptly pushes
       her chair back
       and runs to her
Is it really you?
      (Holding her
       daughter's face)
Yes, my dear, I've come back for
you. You were on my mind all the
time, my love. I never forgot you.
      (They embrace.)
      (Looking curiously
       at Nora, no
       longer resenting
       her, but now
       intrigued by her
       since learning of
       her history from
Does Torvald know you are here?
Why have you come back?
Torvald doesn't know I'm here, and
I'd like to keep it that way. I
came here for my children, not for


                       NORA (cont'd)
him. There is no need for him to
now, I won't stay long.
       clutching Nora
       even tighter)
Do you mean to say you're leaving
      (Looking back at
Yes, my love, I must. I can't stay
here, it no longer belongs to me
any more than I belong in it.
      (With a dramatic
I'm a writer now, and my place is
with the wind. I can't and won't
be kept down by anyone or
anything. I just needed to see you
and show you all that I am and all
that you can be.
What do you mean by that?
Why don't we sit? It will take
some, not a lot, but some time to
      (They all sit,
       Ann-Marie and
       Genevieve is
       especially eager
       as she takes a
       seat, as she has
       wondered about
       Nora since she
       first heard her
       name cried out in
       Torvald's sleep
       the night of
       their wedding.)
      (Takes a deep
My life with Torvald was what most
people would call perfect. The


                       NORA (cont'd)
life that every little girl dreams
about, including me when I was a
child. But I wasn't truly happy. I
don't think I ever was before I
left, not with Papa or with
Torvald. It was only after I left
that I figured out what it meant
to be my own person, an individual
rather than an extension of
someone else.
I'll admit it wasn't easy. I had
no idea what I was doing. After
all, the only time I ever did
anything on my own before then was
when I made that deal with
Krogstad, and that turned out so
      (Really laughs
       now, and
       Ann-Marie joins
       in with a soft
Who is Krogstad?
It doesn't matter anymore. Well,
it does; after all, without him, I
suppose I never would have left at
all. I'd still be in this same
house, doing the same thing I did
every day I was here. I suppose I
have Krogstad to thank for part of
the reason why I am where I am
now. But all you need to know is
that when I left Torvald, I didn't
truly know what it meant to think
and do for myself.
And now you believe you do?
      (Smiling and
       touching her
       cheek gently;
       after all this
       time of not being
       able to see or
       touch her


                       NORA (cont'd)
       daughter, Nora
       can't keep her
       hands or eyes off
I don't believe, my love, I know.
I know so much more now than I
could have ever known if I had
stayed. Learned more than I ever
knew there was to learn. After I
left, I got a job as a scribe and
stayed with Kristine, and Krogstad
as well, after they got married.
But it began to feel like I still
wasn't my own person, so I set off
on my own. Picking up odd copying
jobs and secretary jobs here and
there. It was rough living but I
learned a lot. So much that I now
know enough to live off writing
about what I know.
       furiously now)
It's amazing what you can do once
you let yourself be free. Without
freedom, there can't be true
self-fulfillment and happiness.
And I came to show you that, my
dear Emmy, in hopes that you, too,
will choose your own path, not the
one a man has chosen for you.
The words are directed at Emmy, but they spark something in
Genevieve, something she has never felt before; the longing
for something more than what she's always had. Nora's
leaving had already planted the seed of doubt about Torvald,
but it wasn't until now that Genevieve really felt like
maybe her life wasn't as good as she had previously
I understand, mother. And I will
hold your words close to my heart.
It is now time for me to leave, my
love, before Torvald finds me
      (Embraces Emmy
       tightly and
       kisses her gently
       on the forehead.)


                       NORA (cont'd)
I love you, my dear Emmy.
      (With fresh tears
       in her eyes)
I love you, mother.
      (With a smile and
       a wink.)
Goodbye, Genevieve.
Goodbye, Nora.
And with that, Nora leaves, with Ann-Marie following to see
her out and say goodbye to the woman she sees as her
daughter. Emmy and Genevieve remain, this time in a much
different mood then the one Ann-Marie had left them in
previously. Emmy feels closure, a sense of peace and purpose
now that she has seen her mother again. As for Genevieve:
for the first time, the wheels are turning, and her thoughts
take her out the kitchen door, through the entrance hall,
through the front door, out into the world. A world full of
promise and hope and opportunity, just waiting for her to


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