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November 13, 2019

Symbolism in ??A Doll's House?? by Henrik Ibsen


??A Doll's House?? is a remarkable example of socio-psychological drama focused on the spiritual struggle of the main heroine Nora Helmer. The principal female character in Ibsen's play is a loving and caring wife of an authoritative bank employee Torvald Helmer; the woman initially seems to be a naive and helpless child who does not even imagine the outer world behind her house. Nevertheless, Nora's small displays of rebellion show that she is not as happy in her marriage as she appears. As the play progresses, the heroine demonstrates her true self through progression from an ignorant woman to thinking and independent person. Therefore, Nora's sacrificial role of the wife in her golden cage, her discharge from the familial obligations, and eventually understanding of the conception of freedom manifests through the deep symbolism of the play that raises an important social issue of female oppression.
Nora Helmer herself is a symbol of a socially oppressed woman who is not aware of her sad part. The heroine is a doll in the eyes of her husband who treats her as if she is a toy. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find out the reason of such marital relationship, because Nora represents a beloved wife of a man of high moral ideals who is stormily devoted to his family. Nora Helmer considers herself fortunate and demonstrates her deep honor to her husband through worship and sacred believe in him. Thus, a woman loses her own individuality and sacrifices her life to the husband. Being treated as a doll by her father, Nora continues to be a toy in Torvald's hands: He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you ?? I mean that I was simply transferred from papa's hands into yours. Furthermore, Nora completely depends on Torvald ?? she is not educated to be responsible and cannot control her own money without her husband's authorization. In the world of male dominance, women were deprived of rights, and those who have been unhappily married could not divorce due to social stigma, and thus had to accept their miserable fate. Thereby, marriage has become a trap to Nora without hope for the liberation; she would rather sacrifice her life to be accepted than to be judged. Additionally, the symbol of Nora's sacrifice shines a spotlight on the problem of female oppression.
Nonetheless, Nora's rebellious nature begins to emerge unconsciously through her behavior. For instance, the tarantella conveys an important hidden meaning ?? it is a symbol of Hora's inner desire to live a full life, but Torvald does not approve her attempt. Therefore, the dance is the only way for Nora to show her true self ?? not perfect and obedient Victorian wife, but a free, fiery, and passionate woman. Although Nora performs the tarantella to please Torvald, he is not loyal and thankful to the wife: I shall go into the inner office and shut the door, and I shall hear nothing; you can make as much noise as you please. Thus, Nora's husband does not support her passions even when she tries to do something for him; Torvald takes his wife for granted thereby suppressing her more and more. Thereby, Nora's inner world has to struggle with reality through the wild dancing. In addition to this, macaroons is one more symbol of Nora's inner passion ?? although she is commanded not to eat them, the woman disobeys her husband and secretly ate them being alone in the living room. Macaroons represent Nora??s hidden desires that are revealed through her disobedience and deceit within the marriage.
In addition to this, the actions of the play unfold during Christmastime ?? the time of hope for better future for everyone. Nora and Torvald look forward to the start of a new happier life in the new year. However, both of them see the nature of the desired changes differently, because they both became new people and face unexpected challenges in their lives. The beginning of the new year for Nora is not only the crucial change of the way of living but, what is more important, the radical change in the way of her thinking. Moreover, the New Year is a symbol of Nora's enlightenment and understanding of the conception of true freedom. Although Christmas is never regarded as a religious holiday throughout the play, it brings Nora Helmer a real miracle liberating her from the familial obligations and unjustified indulgence to the husband who does not deserve it. Torvald ?? it was then it dawned upon me that for eight years I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children. Nora realizes that her husband has been a stranger to her during the entire marriage, as well as she has been to him. Therefore, Christmas time is a symbol of Nora's complete spiritual awakening and rebirth from the pitiful existence in the doomed marriage.
??A Doll's House?? conveys a topical message about the female ability to become free from marriage oppression and male ignorance. Henrik Ibsen has made Nora's liberation from her golden cage possible due to the set of symbols that represent character's inner and outer struggle with social injustice. Thereby, symbolism plays a crucial role in the play, because it forces Nora Helmer to transform from a passive, naive and childish heroine into a dynamic character who can critically think and independently build her own life.
About the author: Jessica Sanders is a bachelor in English philology and sociology at California University. Jessica is currently working as one of the best writers at https://essayswriters.com/ She also studies feminine psychology.
Posted by      Jessica S. at 4:44 PM MST
Tags: writing

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