Free Essays on A Doll's House - Use of Imagery

Length: 653 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Red (FREE)      
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Use of Imagery in A Doll's House

Imagery symbolically guides the process of self-emancipation for Nora, the protagonist of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. Objects like the macaroons, the lamp, the Christmas tree, and costumes represent the movement towards freedom of a woman who was a victim of society. Ibsen painted Nora as a youthful and lovely creature who was brought through life treated as a plaything by both her father and then her husband, Torvald. She must break society's unwritten laws.  Although the consequences of her actions are initially minor, they start her along the path towards crisis when she realizes her position and the injustice of it. Through Ibsen's use of symbolism, objects in the play echo her process of anguish to liberation.

Nora spent most of her life as a toy. Her father would be displeased if she had separate opinions from him. The masquerade and costumes are her own masquerade; their marriage is a decorated Christmas tree. She also pretends to be the doll, letting Torvald dress her up and tell her to dance. Her husband's use of words, names like 'little Miss Obstinate" and "skylark" both showed his affection for her and that his affection was terminal if she were to step outside her porcelain boundaries. As Nora's initial submission, is overturned to tenacity and rebellion, the games she played with her children disappear. Confused, she thinks she will poison them by owing money, but eventually she realizes that it is not debt, but her treatment of her children that will turn them into dolls like her. The Christmas tree has become ragged and stripped of ornamentation, like Nora and Torvald's marriage. When she changes out of her tarantella costume towards the end of the play, she also removes the disguise and turns into a "real" person.

Previous to her transformation, Nora must find other ways of having her own personality. The macaroons, like her flirtation with Dr. Rank, are her secret defiance. They allow her a form of rebellion, an escape from her husband, a hiding place. The light Nora has brought in after Dr. Rank declares his love for her is seen by Rank as Nora in his life. He thanks her for the "light", meaning for the only friendship, love, and hope he has ever had. With things out in the open between her and Dr. Rank, she must soon encounter her husband if he finds out the truth about her debt to Krogstad, and more importantly, the "act of love" that some call forgery.

Nora had a large capacity for self-dramatization, as shown in the last scene. Especially theatrical is her declaration that she "cannot spend another night in a strange man's house." She has finally realized the quality, or lack thereof, in their marriage. She will no longer be satisfied as the song-bird wife and must discover herself in the world. With that in mind, the slamming of the door could mean that Nora will never return, that the time she has spent entertaining Torvald is at an end. Torvald, however, predicts hopefully that they will renew their marriage. Nora will certainly romanticize her emancipation, but the final curtain leaves the reader with no hints as to whether she will return or not.

Through the turn of events, Nora was fated to meet the crisis of her misdeed and overcome it. It was almost pure luck that she and her husband were not blackmailed by Krogstad, but more significantly, Nora was able to overcome her place as a toy doll in her own household. Though Nora's logic is based on her misconceptions, ideals, and dreams, it is Torvald who's overboard and high-minded morality crumbles to petty selfishness in a crisis. Ibsen deals with women's liberation and self-emancipation by showing the characters' internal aspects through images. The refined furnishings of Torvald and Nora's home are reflections of their roles, marriage, and ultimate separation.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays on A Doll's House - Use of Imagery." 30 Nov 2015

Related Searches

Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.

Return to