Did Henrik Ibsen Write an Alternate Happy Ending to A Doll’s House?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about plays and playwrights and whether they are true or false.

THEATER URBAN LEGEND: Henrik Ibsen wrote an alternate happy ending to A Doll’s House.

A Doll’s House was published by Henrik Ibsen in 1879.

Here is a portrait of Ibsen…

The play was the first of Ibsen’s works to be a massive hit, and it is likely still his most famous work.

The play centers around Nora, a wife and mother who slowly realizes that, all throughout her life, she has been treated as almost like possession – first by her father and now by her husband.

She dramatically, and quite controversially for 1879, leaves her husband and children at the end of the play, responding to her husband’s pleas that the only chance to save their marriage would be if they could completely change their the way they approach their life and marriage, which she says would take “the greatest miracle of them all.”

As she leaves, her husband takes some solace in the hope that said miracle could take place and the play ends with her slamming the door, punctuating her exit.

It was definitely a controversial ending for the time – a woman leaving her family?

It was SO controversial that when it was going to be staged in Berlin, the famous actress Hedwig Niemann-Raabe said she would only play the part of Nora if the ending was changed. Having an actress of Raabe’s stature take the part was a major coup for Ibsen, but he, of course, did not approve of the idea of changing the ending of the play.
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