A Doll's House Symbolism

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Henrik Ibsen’s most famous play, A Doll’s House (also translated as A Doll House from its original Norwegian form) is one of the most controversial plays of its time as it challenges the marriage norms of the late nineteenth-century. The play dramatizes the growth of Nora Helmer from a “trophy wife” to an independent woman who sets out to find herself –an instance that rarely occurred in nineteenth-century Europe. The play delves into Torvald and Nora’s marriage, which, nowadays, would be considered an emotionally abusive relationship, but was considered perfectly normal in Victorian patriarchal society. In addition, another aspect of the play is Nora’s search for self-discovery and her transformation from the girl at the beginning of the …show more content…
One such instance is the Christmas tree. The traditional holiday decoration is, in a way, representative of Nora and her journey of enlightenment. A Christmas tree is both a nice decoration to look at and is dressed up for people to admire, much as Torvald dresses Nora up. Later in the play, tree becomes disheveled and stripped of its ornamentation, much as Nora does when she is struggling to find balance in her life. Another example is Nora’s wild dancing when performing the tarantella for Torvald in Act II. While performing the dance, Nora is agitated and full of nervous energy and excitement, dancing carelessly wild and greatly displeasing and distressing Torvald. This action could be seen as Nora’s attempt at a full and satisfying life, living life her way, not just as Torvald’s puppet. Nora’s taking out of the bank loan also has symbolism, in that it was such a daring (not to mention illegal) act for a young woman in those times and shows that Nora was willing to cross social and legal boundaries, all to save Torvald, the man she can’t truly love back because he never regards her as an actual person and loves her as another person. This is especially emphasized through the symbolism of the mail box to which only Torvald has a key. This implies his control over Nora and their “marriage” because he does not trust her to even have access to his letters. It is one of Torvald’s many channels of control over

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