„But our home's been nothing but a playpen. I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll-child.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Nora Helmer, Act III
Variant translation: Our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa's doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls. I thought it great fun when you played with me, just as they thought it great fun when I played with them. That is what our marriage has been, Torvald.
A Doll's House (1879)
Kontext: But our home's been nothing but a playpen. I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll-child. And in turn the children have been my dolls. I thought it fun when you played with me, just as they thought it fun when I played with them. That's been our marriage, Torvald.

„I thank God that in the bath of Pain
He purged my love.“

—  Henrik Ibsen, Love's Comedy

Falk, Act III
Love's Comedy (1862)
Kontext: I thank God that in the bath of Pain
He purged my love. What strong compulsion drew
Me on I knew not, till I saw in you
The treasure I had blindly sought in vain.
I praise Him, who our love has lifted thus
To noble rank by sorrow, — licensed us
To a triumphal progress, bade us sweep
Thro' fen and forest to our castle-keep,
A noble pair, astride on Pegasus!

„That power which circumstances placed in my hands, and which is an emanation of divinity, I am conscious of having used to the best of my skill. I have never wittingly wronged any one.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

The Emperor Julian, as portrayed in Emperor and Galilean (1873).
Kontext: That power which circumstances placed in my hands, and which is an emanation of divinity, I am conscious of having used to the best of my skill. I have never wittingly wronged any one. For this campaign there were good and sufficient reasons; and if some should think that I have not fulfilled all expectations, they ought in justice to reflect that there is a mysterious power without us, which in a great measure governs the issue of human undertakings.

„Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Letter to Georg Brandes (17 February 1871), as translated in Henrik Ibsen : Björnstjerne Björnson. Critical Studies (1899) by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
Variant translation: The quality of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says: "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless.
As translated in Ibsen : The Man, His Art & His Significance (1907) by Haldane Macfall, p. 238
Variant translation: Neither moral concepts nor art forms can expect to live forever. How much are we obliged to hold on to? Who can guarantee that 2 plus 2 don't add up to 5 on Jupiter?
Kontext: He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?

„The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

As quoted in The Ibsen Calendar : A Quotation from the Works of Henrik Ibsen for Every Day (1913) by C. A. Arfwedson
Kontext: The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish. The great secret of action and victory is to be capable of living your life without ideals. Such is the sum of the whole world's wisdom.

„I go to scale the Future's possibilities!“

—  Henrik Ibsen, Love's Comedy

Falk, in a statement rich with ironies.
Love's Comedy (1862)
Kontext: I go to scale the Future's possibilities! Farewell!
God bless thee, bride of my life's dawn, Where'er I be, to nobler deed thou'lt wake me.

„He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Letter to Georg Brandes (17 February 1871), as translated in Henrik Ibsen : Björnstjerne Björnson. Critical Studies (1899) by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
Variant translation: The quality of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says: "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless.
As translated in Ibsen : The Man, His Art & His Significance (1907) by Haldane Macfall, p. 238
Variant translation: Neither moral concepts nor art forms can expect to live forever. How much are we obliged to hold on to? Who can guarantee that 2 plus 2 don't add up to 5 on Jupiter?
Kontext: He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?

„I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Mrs. Alving, Act II
Ghosts (1881)
Kontext: I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.

„The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Letter to Georg Brandes (17 February 1871), as translated in Henrik Ibsen : Björnstjerne Björnson. Critical Studies (1899) by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
Variant translation: The quality of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says: "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless.
As translated in Ibsen : The Man, His Art & His Significance (1907) by Haldane Macfall, p. 238
Variant translation: Neither moral concepts nor art forms can expect to live forever. How much are we obliged to hold on to? Who can guarantee that 2 plus 2 don't add up to 5 on Jupiter?
Kontext: He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?

„A thousand words can't
make the mark a single deed will leave.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Ikke tusend ord
sig prenter, som én gernings spor.
Manden, Act II
Brand (1866)
Originál: (da) Ikke tusend ord<br/>sig prenter, som én gernings spor.

„Nothing shall part us, and our life shall prove
A song of glory to triumphant love!“

—  Henrik Ibsen, Love's Comedy

Falk, Act III
Love's Comedy (1862)
Kontext: I feel myself like God's lost prodigal;
I left Him for the world's delusive charms.
With mild reproof He wooed me to his arms;
And when I come, He lights the vaulted hall,
Prepares a banquet for the son restored,
And makes His noblest creature my reward.
From this time forth I'll never leave that Light, —
But stand its armed defender in the fight;
Nothing shall part us, and our life shall prove
A song of glory to triumphant love!

„To live is to battle the demons
in the heart as well as the brain.
To write is to preside at
judgement day over one's self.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

At leve er — krig med trolde
i hjertets og hjernens hvælv.
At digte, — det er at holde
dommedag over sig selv.
Et vers (A Verse), inscribed on the volume Poems (1877)
Ibsen may have written this originally in German http://www.ibsen.net/index.gan?id=110602&subid=0 as a dedication to a female reader. It was published in German in Deutsche Rundschau in November 1886:
Leben, das heisst bekriegen
In Herz und Hirn die Gewalten;
Und dichten; über sich selber
Den Gerichtstag halten.
Originál: (da) At leve er — krig med trolde<br/>i hjertets og hjernens hvælv.<br/>At digte, — det er at holde<br/>dommedag over sig selv.

„Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Letter to Georg Brandes (17 February 1871), as translated in Henrik Ibsen : Björnstjerne Björnson. Critical Studies (1899) by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
Variant translation: The quality of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says: "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless.
As translated in Ibsen : The Man, His Art & His Significance (1907) by Haldane Macfall, p. 238
Variant translation: Neither moral concepts nor art forms can expect to live forever. How much are we obliged to hold on to? Who can guarantee that 2 plus 2 don't add up to 5 on Jupiter?
Kontext: He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?

„I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House (1879)
Kontext: Helmer: First and foremost, you are a wife and mother.
Nora: That I don't believe any more. I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

„There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.“

—  Henrik Ibsen

Mrs. Alving, Act II
Ghosts (1881)
Kontext: I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.

„When we dead awaken. … We see that we have never lived.“

—  Henrik Ibsen, When We Dead Awaken

Irene, in Act II
When We Dead Awaken (1899)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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