A Doll's House Symbolism Analysis

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What does it mean to be in complete control of your life, without fearing disapproval from your own husband? Nora Helmer sure would not know what that feels like. In the literary work credited to Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House, a clear distinction between the gender roles of Torvald and Nora Helmer was established through symbols. Through Ibsen’s use of symbols such as macaroons, pet names, and the Tarantella, such symbols help convey and compare the roles of men and women within the nineteenth century. Not only were the gender roles distincted through their character, but they exemplified the actual feminine and masculine roles of typical nineteenth century society. Nora is portrayed as powerless and confines herself through patriarchal expectations,…show more content…
I can 't dance to-morrow if I don 't rehearse with you first! Let me rehearse at once. We have time before dinner. Oh, do sit down and play for me, Torvald dear; direct me and put me right, as you used to do (Ibsen 30 & 31). Nora was able to prevent Torvald from seeing the letters for a bit of time by using the tarantella to her benefit. This reinforces the idea Torvald values Nora for her intangible and superficial qualities such as her beauty more than anything. Another symbol that is seen throughout the novel is the macaroons playing the role of the “forbidden fruit.” It seemed as though the macaroons symbolize a main theme in the play which was temptation and deceit. In act 1, Torvald was questioning Nora about her eating the macaroons highlighting the parent a child aspect of their relationship. “Torvald: Hasn 't she even nibbled a macaroon or two? NORA. No, Torvald, indeed, indeed!”(Ibsen 3). This quote displays how Nora was literally pleading to Torvald that she wasn’t eating the forbidden fruit (the macarons) because she feared getting into a sort of trouble with Torvald, further intensifying the parent and child aspect. Taking the play’s title into perspective: “A Doll’s House” literally, and perfectly describes Nora’s life which is basically a doll’s house. Nora is living under Torvald’s roof and everything she does is decided and controlled by him. Nora acts how Torvald has primed her to, she stays out of his business, and as a reader of the book, it seems as though he sees her solely for her physical appearance, and their attraction is only physical, which could have contributed to the fall of their
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