Symbolism In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

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In the play A Doll House, Henrik Ibsen writes about the typical European marriage in the 19th century with the twist of a metaphorical comparison of the Helmer 's marriage and their home to a doll house. Ibsen also enriches the play with the use of symbolism throughout the story. These symbols include: the macaroons which represent how Nora misleads Torvald, Dr. Rank 's illness and the tarantella dress which represent the things wrong with their marriage. Lastly, another symbol is the Christmas tree which effectively shows that Nora 's place is the house is temporary. The macaroons serve as symbols because they represent Nora 's disobedience and deceitfulness to her husband, Torvald. For instance, despite the fact that Torvald has forbidden…show more content…
The play begins with the introduction of Nora along with a delivery boy carrying the new Christmas tree. The fact that the tree is new and is "humming happily to herself" and "she laughs to herself" (1246) suggests that the condition of the tree and her condition are parallel. In other words, the tree is new so it is in great condition and the readers see Nora humming and laughing clearly suggest that she is in a good state as well. Essentially, Nora 's mental state is absolutely fine here because she is yet to discover what the future holds, this is represented by the new Christmas tree. Then in Act 2, the Christmas tree is described as being "stripped of ornament, burned-down candle stubs on its ragged branches" (1266). Then, the readers see "Nora, alone in the room, [moving] restlessly" (1266). Clearly, her restlessness shows that she is worried. She is also paranoid because she thinks that "someone 's coming" (1266) at the door so she proceeds to check the door and the mailbox when there is nobody outside. This restlessness and paranoia effectively represents Nora 's mental state at the time, after discovering that she has committed a crime by forging her father 's signature and after being threatened by Krogstad. Like the Christmas tree, she is in a terrible condition where the ragged branches represent the mistakes she has made and where she is stripped of the joy that she had in the beginning. Furthermore, the Christmas…show more content…
Since in Act 2, Mrs. Linde is fixing the dress because "it 's all so tattered" (1268) just as their relationship is tattered. Furthermore, the dress connects to how Mrs. Linde is also trying to fix their marriage as well. For example, in Act 3, Mrs. Linde stops Krogstad from taking his letter back because she feels that "Helmer 's got to learn everything" and that "this dreadful secret has to be aired" and Nora and Helmer "have to come to a full understanding" (1285). The fact that Mrs. Linde attempts to fix things, like Nora 's dress, helps explain why she wants the truth to come out. Also, this dress was given Nora by Torvald which shows that he has authority over her and represents that how Torvald treats her like a doll, by dressing her up. Additionally, the fact that the dress itself is meant to be a masquerade dress also signifies something crucial in this play. It symbolizes how Nora 's life was fake and she was simply play a role in Helmer 's house. This is clear when in Act 3, Nora says that she is"getting out of [her] costume" (1292). Clearly, this act of getting out of the dress is symbolic of Nora stepping out of the role of a doll that she played her entire life. Hence, the dress represents their broken marriage, Torvald 's power over Nora and the fact Nora 's life is
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