Change and Conflict in A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

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It sometimes takes a lifetime to change yourself, but changing in response to what other people want, without considering your own needs could be much more challenging. In a world without any flaws all people would be treated equally and with the same kind of respect. On the other hand, in the world we live in, almost all situations we find ourselves in have the potential to become a conflict. A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, is an exceptional example of a conflict that exists as women are seen as possessions and not individuals by men. Ibsen uses the Christmas tree, macaroons, tarantella, and the doll’s house as symbols in A Doll’s House to express the flaws in a society that requires women to be the subservient and docile servants of men.

Transition: In the first place we can consider the Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree can be seen as the first symbol in the play A Doll's House, where women have to be obedient to men and hide their true emotions. For example, at the start of Act Two, the stage directions order that “The Christmas tree is in the corner by the piano...” (Ibsen 29) This instruction represents Torvald, Nora's husband, directing Nora to do whatever pleases him even though she might disagree. She sees herself as being isolated by her husband and feels rejected as her opinion is never considered by him. In addition, the directions if Act Two continue to instruct that the Christmas tree is "…stripped of its ornaments and with burnt down candle-ends on it dishevelled branches.” (Ibsen 29) The image that is created by this order reveals that Nora also feels burned out by always having to listen to her husband. The "dishevelled branches" of the Christmas tree indicate that her life is bedraggled and she has t...

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...toy. Consequently, Torvald's hold on her is broken when she comes to realize that she was just a "doll" being used by her husband.

The main character of A Doll's House, Nora Helmer, is constantly challenged in the play as she endeavors to be the perfect wife for her husband, Torvald, and to live according to the rules and expectations set by him. Ibsen uses symbols throughout the play to emphasize how women were seen and treated by men during the Victorian era in Norway. Even now during our modern era women are still seen as subservient to men and all men have a lesson to learn that women can be so much more than just mere "dolls" in a "dollhouse". They have values, ambitions, dreams, individuality, a place in society where they can express themselves and live meaningful lives. Will there ever be a time in the future where women will be treated as equals to men?
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