Symbolism Of A Doll ‘s House By Henrik Ibsen Essay

Symbolism is one of the literary devices commonly used in drama. The symbol imparts the hidden meanings other than the apparent ones and also shows the emotional effects on the characters. Though A Doll ‘s House is not only realistic, but a naturalistic drama, Ibsen has made extensive use of symbolism in its setting, the use of imagery, and even in actions. The luxurious and harmonious looking scene at the beginning and the gradual degradation of that spick and span room of Nora is a symbolic setting. The images of macaroons, stove, Christmas tree, New Year’s Day, black shawl, and most importantly the door is among the most symbolic images in the play. Actions like Nora ‘s dance and her hide and seek with the children are also symbolic in meaning.

The macaroons that Nora eats and Helmer prohibits her from eating stand for her innocence, childishness and happy-go-lucky nature. Nora ‘s eating of macaroons justifies that she possesses a childish nature. The macaroon also stands for her revolt against Helmer ‘s authority that he wishes her not to eat it. At the end of act 2, Nora after being failure to convince Helmer for Krogstad ‘s cause, asks her maid to put plenty of macaroons on the dinner plate. Here the symbol Macaroons shows her disturbed mental state. The way Helmer prohibits “sweets” also suggests that he is treating her like a child; it is in fact that Nora behaves like a child because Helmer would like her to do so, and that Nora will do what he wants because she has the illusion of his love.

The Stove symbolizes Nora ‘s emotional and physical warmth. When Krogstad comes to have a talk with Nora, she keeps the door half open. She goes across the room and touches the stove. Actually there is no cause of doing so. Her action…

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…n beings. Nora also helps point out that there might some aspects of society which might be incorrect besides the perception of women as the less sharp sex; the law of those days for example. All of these are shown with Nora’s possession of a secret life. In the surface she appears as a beautiful, fun toy to her husband, father, and even to her friend Mrs. Linden, but it is only when they find out of her secret life when they start to appreciate her for more than a beautiful girl that she is. That second life of hers allows Nora to show that she can work, that she can withstand enormous amounts of pressure, and that she is capable to do things when she is determined. It is this secret life that eventually leads to her being freed from that dollhouse, as she calls it, and ultimately allows her to leave without being afraid to study and learn about herself and society.

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