Nora, seeing Torvald’s true character for the first time, sits her husband down to tell him that she is leaving him. After he protests, she explains that he does not love her—and, after tonight, she does not love him. She tells him that, given the suffocating life she has led until now, she owes it to herself to become fully independent and to explore her own character and the world for herself. As she leaves, she reveals to Torvald that she hopes that a “miracle” might occur: that one day, they might be able to unite in real wedlock. The play ends with the door slamming on her way out.
There are many comic sections in the play—one might argue that Nora’s “songbird” and “squirrel” acts, as well as her early flirtatious conversations with her husband, are especially humorous. Still, like many modern productions, A Doll’s House seems to fit the classical definition of neither comedy nor tragedy. Unusually for a traditional comedy, at the end there is a divorce, not a marriage, and the play implies that Dr. Rank could be dead as the final curtain falls. But this is not a traditional tragedy either, for the ending of A Doll’s House has no solid conclusion. The ending notably is left wide open: there is no brutal event, no catharsis, just ambiguity. This is a play that defies boundaries.
Nineteenth-century breakthroughs in genetic science led to a growing interest in inherited disease and traits. A Doll's House contains several references to the idea that both physical disease and moral traits are passed down through generations. Torvald, after he reads Krogstad's first letter and rejects Nora, forbids her from bringing up their children as he thinks she will taint them morally. She herself is already convinced of this and has begun to distance herself from them. Torvald believes that Krogstad's children will be poisoned by their father's moral crimes. Dr Rank has inherited tuberculosis of the spine, the disease that kills him, from his father, who led a promiscuous life and contracted venereal disease.