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A Doll House

  • Date Submitted: 06/05/2010 02:11 PM
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“A Doll House”

January 5, 2010

Playwright Henrik Ibsen tends to use a lot of symbolism, the use of symbols to represent things such as ideas and emotions, in his works.   In his play “A Doll House,” Ibsen uses symbolism to convey what he believes the role of women in society should be.   Every women is portrayed as being the doll of their spouse, in that they are expected to give up anything and everything for them.   Besides Nora, Torvalds wife,   Ibsen also uses Mrs. Linde, Nora’s old friend, and Nora’s Maid as symbols within the plot. The question is: is Ibsen feminist or is he trying to show that women should be there own person rather than being restrained by the men around them?
In the very first scene, Nora is called upon by her husband.   Though she is not referred to by her name but as “little lark” or “little squirrel” instead.   Torvald constantly miniaturizes his wife with names such as “little lark, squirrel, spendthrift, or featherhead,” and Nora responds with an amenable, “Yes!?”   Even as the play progresses, the name calling continues.   These names create her character to seem to be inferior compared to her husband, Torvald.
Ibsen also uses the things around Nora to show symbolism, such as the Christmas tree and the lamp.   The Christmas tree is an object that represents Nora as something nice to look at (also comparable to a doll).   They are both dressed up and decorated for the sole purpose of admiration from surrounding peoples.   The lamp is another object that is a strong symbol throughout the play.   Whenever something is going to be revealed, the Maid brings out that lamp to “shed light” on the situation metaphorically.   Ibsen’s symbolism usage clearly ranges from tangible objects to actions of the characters.  
Nora’s actions could easily be noted as symbolism to convey Ibsen’s story.   Both the tarantella, a dance Nora and Torvald would be performing at an upcoming ball,   and Nora’s dress change at the end of the play are...


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