Throughout A Doll’s House, the use of symbolism is present. Through Torvald’s actions, the reader develops a clear understanding of Nora and Torvald’s relationship and thus developing the role of women theme. Firstly, Torvald treats Nora as if she is a child, but Nora doesn’t act upon this until the end of the play. This symbolic action could be due to the constant reminder of Nora’s secret bank loan, which affects her attitude and interaction with her husband, along with the constant inequalities present between herself and Torvald. Secondly, although not typically considered as imagery, stage directions are very helpful to the reader as they provide visual information that the reader can use to help create the setting and act out interactions in their mind. And lastly, without prior knowledge of the play, the title seems nonsensical, but as the story unfolds, the title becomes clearly connected to the plot and the theme of the story through the use of symbolism.
If you read Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll House” from a literary perspective, you will see a story about this “perfect” family, but if you just dig a little deeper you will see there is a whole lot more to this play than the eye first sees. You soon find out that this perfect family is not so perfect after all. From a symbolic perspective “A Doll House” is about marriage, respect, feminism, and how Torvald’s family is like a doll house. Nora’s actions are very shocking to the general public that this book was first written for. This story was written in 1879, therefor women played the role as a house wife with no voice. The women were treated more as property, than significant others. Women had little to no rights which is a reason why many older
During this period, women were subjected in their gender roles and were restricted over what the patriarchal system enforced on them. Everyone was brought up believing that women had neither self-control nor self-government but that they must capitulate to the control of dominate gender. The ideology that “God created men and women different - … [and they should] remain each in their own position.” (eHow, Ibsen's Influences on Women's Rights) is present in A Doll’s House with Nora’s character, as she is seen as the ideal women during the Victorian Era, who is first dutiful as wife and mother before to her own self. Whenever Torvald gives Nora money, she spends it on her children so that they are not “shabbily dressed” (Act 1). Though she loves her children it is all the more shocking when she leaves them.
A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, creates a peephole into the lives of a family in the Victorian Era. The play portrays a female viewpoint in a male-dominated society. The values of the society are described using the actions of a woman, Nora, who rebels against the injustices inflicted upon her gender. Women’s equality with men was not recognized by society in the late 1800’s. Rather, a woman was considered a doll, a child, and a servant. Nora’s alienation reveals society’s assumptions and values about gender.
Ibsen also uses a symbol to develop Torvald Helmer as a character. The locked mailbox represents Torvald as a superior and controlling husband. The mailbox is for Torvald alone to access, as he only holds the key. Similarly, Torvald’s study is a private room that Nora is never allowed to enter. The fact that Torvald will not even allow Nora to read the mail shows how far he has kept her apart from the outside world and kept her under his total control. Torvald does not recognize Nora as an intellectual person to be involved with any business or important matters in life. The mailbox also represents Nora’s submissiveness, which signifies the oppression of all women during the time period.
Ibsen uses Torvald’s study to symbolize male dominance and superiority in order to connect to the theme of social oppression towards women. The first scene develops this symbol through Nora and Torvald conversation in the study. Nora enters his study to ask for spending money, but she must perform childish tricks as payment.
Christmas trees are essentially fir trees that are decorated with superficial Christmas tree ornaments, which cover the true identity of the fir tree. The deceptive nature of the decorations mirror Nora’s duplicity where her disguise of being the conventional housewife hides her true identity of being the manipulative and tactful wife. Ibsen shows Nora’s manipulative personality through her use of language when asking Torvald for money as Christmas present in Act I. She tactfully directs the authority of the decision to Torvald using a series of tag questions -- “wouldn’t that be fun?” and “Isn’t that the best way?” -- seemingly giving Torvald the power to make decisions for her, but nonetheless using her means of manipulating Torvald to achieve her aim of getting more money. Her image as a submissive housewife is also shown to be a superficial act when Nora reveals to Mrs. Linde that she “managed to get a lot of copying to do” the previous winter, which is one of the “sources of income” that she has found to repay the loan; while Torvald thinks that she shut herself away to “make flowers for the Christmas tree”. Both her concealment of the loan and her act of lying about the repayment shows Nora’s superficial respect for Torvald’s male ego, but in essence, both acts are Nora’s encroachment onto Torvald’s
We always dream of something and try to find ourselves in the hope and lies behind the real world. Continuing in the second plan is the character of the human soul. Reality gives people to be different each other. People know themselves accurately and pretend nothing happen and try to trick themselves into something else. There is a game like this Nora a Baby House. Torvald Helmer, the father of three and Nora’s husband, has different thoughts than his wife. In Nora's existentialist transformation, the interaction of consciousness and subconscious cannot be ignored. The play has excellent examples of symbolism and metaphor. There are easy to recognize and understand the metaphors, but symbols have deep meanings, which we must feel the Author’s emotion in the three acts while reading a Doll’s House. Regarding the symbolism, we see the Christmas tree in the Act I, Tarantella in the Act II, and the light in the Act III. Also, in terms of metaphor in the play, the connection between animals and human activities such as ‘little squirrel’ in Act I and II, Big Black Hat and ‘shipwrecked’ in Act III. There is a very thin line between symbolism and metaphor in the play; symbolism contains a very deep meaning, and metaphor pulls from that deep to make it clear and straightforward.
Ibsen has used extensive use of symbolism throughout the play to reveal societies expectations on gender roles. Christmas symbolizes happiness and merriment of Nora's married life. The Christmas tree that Nora brings in represents life and energy, as well as spiritual strength, although, in the second act, the Christmas tree has been "stripped and disheveled", and the candles have burned down to the sockets. The broken tree shows the loss of Nora's happiness and spirit while the burning out of the candles reflect the decrease of light and energy. The macaroons that Nora eats in beginning represents her innocence, childishness, and carefree attitude. It also represents her revolt against Torvald's
The relationship between Torvald and Nora is based on the assumption that women are beneath men. Torvald treats Nora like a girl would treat a doll. Torvald refers to Nora as his "lark," "squirrel," and his beautiful "songbird" throughout Ibsen's play, except when he is angry; then she becomes a woman. Elaine Baruch adds insight:
Just as Nora evolves from the mini-Nora of act one to the super-Nora of act three, similarly the set of the play goes through a drastic evolution, from light to darkness, from paradise to prison until, by the end of the play, it has been ethically demolished. One could imagine the doll house set, when Nora slams the door, collapsing like a house of cards, to the collective gasp of relief from the audience. Looking at the set we see, that Ibsen makes use of a triad, "a room . two doors in the rear wall, the door on the left leads to Torvald’s study, and is opened and closed only when he chooses. It represents the sanctum sanctorum of male dominance and decision-making authority and security and his invisible presence behind that door is felt god like. Whenever he emerges from this door, it is always on his own terms, to direct and control events. The door to the right in the rear wall leads to the outside world. Only damaged people come through this door: Christine, Rank, Krogstad, all of whom have been variously hurt by the world outside. So this door represents the menacing reality of the outside world, its power to hurt but also, its power to force- to force one to grow up, to stop being a doll. There is another door, which leads to the nursery and bedroom. This is the world of sexual fantasy, of Nora performing childish roles of squirrel, lark and others to keep Torvald infatuated with her innocence. Here, one can clearly see that Ibsen draws a
In Henrik Ibsen's, A Doll's House, the character of Nora Helmer goes through the dramatic transformation of a kind and loving housewife, to a desperate and bewildered woman, whom will ultimately leave her husband and everything she has known. Ibsen uses both the characters of Torvald and Nora to represent the tones and beliefs of 19th century society. By doing this, Ibsen effectively creates a dramatic argument that continues to this day; that of feminism.
Ibsen’s purpose for writing this piece is to entertain while pointing out an injustice. Through the events of the play, Nora becomes increasingly aware of the confines in which Torvald has placed her. He has made her a doll in her own house, one that is expected to keep happy and
Nora starts off the play essentially as Torvalds toy. She is obedient, she is cute, she rarely goes against his wishes, and she is nothing without her “owner”, Torvald. The reader, however, discovers early on that all is not what it seems to be. Nora is actually a very rebellious woman who enjoys going against Torvald’s wishes. There are scenarios where she does this out of the sheer enjoyment she gets. Nora loves macaroons.
The door of A Doll’s House is closed at last. This is a symbol for the end of the way society thinks about women back in the Victorian era around the 19th century. At the time Henrik Ibsen wrote the play A Doll’s House in Norway, it was normal for society to look down upon such women that would leave their children and husbands behind. Men had a higher status than women at that time. The title “Doll’s House” ties well with the play because it illustrates how in the past, society treated women as dolls. The title of the play demonstrates an allegory for women’s roles because it