A Doll's House Analytic Essay Symbolism Gmhs Essay

819 words - 4 pages

Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll House raised controversy in the 19th century, following the life of a woman who is able to find herself after leaving her husband who manipulates her into behaving how he deems fit, which went against social norms at the time. Ibsen’s use of symbolism throughout A Doll House conveys Nora’s transformation from a classic, submissive Victorian wife to an empowered woman who is able to ultimately find liberty from the clutches of her husband’s dominating nature. There are several instances in the play where Ibsen uses symbolism to illustrate Nora’s transition in character. The three most significant symbols in the play is Nora’s lie about not eating the macaroons, the Christmas tree, and the Tarantula dance.
The first most important act of symbolism is when Nora lies to Torvald regarding not eating the macaroons. The audience may question why Ibsen included such a minor and insignificant detail, however, the inclusion of it portrays Nora’s defiance to Torvald, however trivial it may be. She states, “You know I could never think of going against you” (pg. 47), which is subsequently contradicted by her act of concealing the reality. The symbolism of her eating the macaroons despite her husband’s petty rule, represent Nora’s desire to be free and act independently in contrast to behaving like the beautiful, obedient doll Torvald desires her to be. The lie she tells Torvald illustrates that their relationship isn’t as pretty and picture perfect as she wants it to be. Ibsen cleverly uses symbolism in what appears to be a simple want to merely eat macaroons, to subtly show the audience that Nora’s life is not joyful, honest, and dependent as it appears. One very simple act of independence suggests that Nora has the potential to do more, foreshadowing her growth and shift into an empowered woman.
Secondly, the symbolism of the Christmas tree in the play is utilized by Ibsen to reflects Nora’s character and value in the household, along with the progression of her psychological state. The purpose of a Christmas tree is to look beautiful and serve its purpose of embellishing a household, which is seen in her relationship with Torvald, as he sees her as an accessory to flaunt and adorn the house. Nora dresses the tree with beautiful ornaments, similar to how Torvald dresses her up for the party. The transition of the Christmas tree appearing beautiful in the beginning...

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