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Act 2, Part 2

As they try to put their relationship to rights, a maid enters and tells Nora privately that Krogstad is in the house. Nora sends Rank to her husband and confronts Krogstad in secret. He tells her that he has changed his mind about the bond. He says that even if she pays him every penny left on it, he will never part with the paper. Instead, he is going to use it as a means of "rehabilitating himself." He has written a letter to Helmer telling him everything, and stating that he will make Nora's forgery public unless Helmer helps him to "get on" at the bank, by not merely reinstating him but giving him an even higher appointment. Nora hints that she will commit suicide if Krogstad reveals her secret to Helmer. He replies that she hasn't the courage, and her being dead would not change anything anyway. "It is I who have the keeping of your reputation," he reminds her. He leaves, and drops his letter to Helmer in their letterbox outside.

Mrs. Linde enters, having finished mending Nora's costume dress. Nora nervously points to the letter in the box (to which only Helmer has a key) and tells her friend everything. Mrs. Linde volunteers to find Krogstad and speak to him. She says that there was a time when he would have done anything for her. When they hear Helmer calling Nora, Mrs. Linde tells Nora to distract him, to keep him from opening the letterbox until she returns from Krogstad's house. Mrs. Linde leaves. Helmer and Rank enter. Nora distracts Helmer from the letterbox by pretending she has forgotten how to dance the tarantella. She begs him to devote all his attention to her for the afternoon, asks that he forget about business long enough to help her. She makes him play the piano and critique her while she dances. She dances wildly; he tells her to go more slowly, but this seems to make her dance all the more violently. Then Doctor Rank plays while Helmer stands to the side, giving Nora instructions. Her dance reaches a fever pitch. Helmer says, "You are dancing as if your life depended on it." Nora replies, "So it does." Helmer brings it to a halt, saying, "This is sheer madness." He tells Nora she needs much more coaching; Nora agrees, adding that he should not read a single letter until she has gotten it right. Helmer becomes suspicious at that, but gives in anyway. As the men leave, Helmer comments on Nora's "childish nervousness."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Linde has returned from Krogstad's and has been watching the entire spectacle from the doorway. Once the men have left, Mrs. Linde tells Nora that Krogstad was out and would not return until the following evening. She left him a note. Nora responds mysteriously: "You should have let it alone; you must prevent nothing. After all, it is splendid to be waiting for a wonderful thing to happen." Mrs. Linde leaves. Alone, Nora counts the hours until her tarantella dance will be over and says, "Thirty-one hours to live." Then Helmer calls out, "Where is my little skylark?" She runs to him, crying, "Here she is!"

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Act 1, Part 1
Act 1, Part 2
Act 2, Part 1
Act 2, Part 2
Act 3, Part 1
Act 3, Part 2
Act 3, Part 3


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