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Symbolism in Henrik Ibsen’s Essay

Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, is a play essentially about human rights. It is about how double standards, oppressive tradition, and materialistic greed make life a lot less than it can be. Nora’s macaroons Nora’s husband Torvald imposes rules upon his household that are just as irrational as many of the rules of society, particularly concerning women. Among other things, he prohibits her macaroons and tells her how to dress.

Thus one of the foundations of their marriage is control; Nora is like an object that Torvald uses instead of a person who desires independence. Nora’s act of hiding her macaroons symbolize the lies that must be told and the secrets that must be kept in order to maintain a peaceful and harmonious marriage and family life with her manipulative husband. However, the macaroons also symbolize Nora’s emerging independence—she knows what she wants (the macaroons), and is slowly beginning to defy her husband’s rules in order to get them—although she does this illicitly. Christmas

The fact that Christmas and Christmas eve are important events in the play symbolize the materialism of society, which Nora seems to try to get out of, but is still subject to. The true meaning of Christmas is never portrayed and hardly even implied—Christmas has become a materialistic phenomenon. Tarantella Because the impending discovery of her loan, Nora is beside herself with anxiety and stress, some of which she releases in her dance. As Torvald is about to look at his mail, Nora creates a distraction, asking him to play the piano so she can practice the tarantella, which she will dance at the ball.

A little later when Torvald might go and check his mail again, Nora dances wildly, almost crazily, that Torvald remarks that it looks like her life depended on her dancing, to which Nora replies that it does. She then tells him not to look at his letters because it is Christmas after all, and gets him to agree. These symbols effectively portray how unsatisfactory and irrational life can be if we allow oppressive tradition and materialism to direct our lives. A Doll’s House reminds us that we must think for ourselves and try to reach the limits of our independence in order to experience life as it should be.


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