Themes and Symbols in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

Themes and Symbols in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

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“I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’a doll-child” (Ibsen 1491). Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House tells a story of scandal and deceit set in the Victorian era. Nora Helmer is married to Torvald Helmer and she feels more like his toy than his wife. Nora had to have Torvald to be able to do anything, because of when she lived. Nora borrows money behind her husband’s back (which is illegal at this time) and tries to cover up everything she has done. Ibsen employs the use of many themes and symbols in his A Doll House to show the reader just how Nora was a doll-child who evolved into a doll-wife.

The central theme of A Doll House is a true marriage us a joining of equals. The entire play centers in on the crumbling of a marriage that is just the opposite of this. At the beginning of the play both of the Helmers seem happy with their marriage. Though, as the play moves along the imbalance becomes more and more apparent. By the end of the story, the marriage falls apart because of a complete lack of understanding between Torvald and Nora. Together in wedlock, the two cannot realize who they are as individuals. They can only see themselves as part of the marriage.

Another very important theme in this play is the home. From the very beginning of the play home is a place of comfort, joy, and shelter. The idea of home is woven into the idea of a happy family, which the Helmers seem to be. Towards the end of the play, the happiness in the Helmer household changes and the imbalance of power becomes a major issue. At this point, the seemingly happy home is revealed as just people putting on an act for each other and the outside world. The Helmers put up a façade, a doll's house, as a way of hiding the tension between the...


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...ven though he contests that the play is not a feminist play, it challenges the roles men and women played in society. It shows just how the women felt trapped and alone in their own homes. Although not everyone will agree with what she did, Nora had no other way of getting out of such a horrible situation.


Works Cited

Drake, David B. "Ibsen's A Doll House." Explicator 53.1 (1994): 3+. Ebscohost. Web. 22 July
2011.
"Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House": An Illustration of Symbolism." TheatreHistory.com. Web. 21
July 2011. .
Ibsen, Henrik. "A Doll House." The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and
Kelly J. Mays. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 1447-496. Print.
Kane, Tina. "The Doll's House." Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-
2. Ebscohost. Web. 23 July 2011.

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