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A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen


1) The Roles of Women

The positions of women in the society are highlighted particularly by the character of Nora Helmer. Dialogue is well used to show that the ways that men view women, are sometimes the same and sometimes different to how women view themselves. Attitudes to women are cleverly illustrated in relation to their sacrifices, financial dependence, marriage and treatment as possessions.

1.2. Sacrifice
Nora makes a financial loan and risky agreement in order to save Torvalds life, yet she must keep them as secret. Mrs Linde sacrifices her true love, in order to marry rich man and support her family. The nanny abandons her own child to support herself.

1.3. Financial dependence

Women could not conduct business or control their own money. Torvald establishes himself as the controller and Nora as the spendthrift.

1.4. Marriage
Single women vs Married women All women are aspired to be married Once married, there is no getting a divorce.

1.5. Women as possessions (as dolls)

Torvald calls her more by his many pet names than her actual name. Dolls are to be dressed up and twirled around for show. In Act I, Nora says to Torvald, I will do everything I can to please you, Torvald!I will sing for you, dance for you. The idea of Nora as an object to be admired and not someone to have a serious conversation with.

2) Money
Torvalds ability to control and make money enable him to control others lives.
- Torvald decides either Krogstad or Mrs Linde should be allowed a job. - Torvald puts dominance over Nora and controls their relationship.

Behave in certain way in return of money.

- between Nora and Torvald - between Nora and Dr Rank

3) The individual and society & Morality

Torvald defines his life by what society finds acceptable and respectable. He is more concerned about what society thinks of his wife and marriage than his wifes happiness. Noras sacrifice to save her husbands life, becomes an unforgivable crime in the eyes of society. Much of Krogstads life has been affected by societys moral standard.

4) Inheritance
A Doll's House contains several references to the idea that both physical disease and moral traits are passed down through generations. Torvald rejects Nora, forbids her from bringing up their children as he thinks she will taint them morally. She herself is already convinced of this and has begun to distance herself from them. Torvald believes that Krogstad's children will be poisoned by their father's moral crimes. Dr Rank inherits the disease from his father.

5) Appearance and reality

Things are not always as they appear.
Nora Torvald The helmer marriage Krogstad Mrs linde Dr rank

Symbolism and Allegory

The symbols Henrik Ibsen uses in this play, often been called the beginning of modern drama, are more subtle than what one usually thinks of as symbolism The play "A Doll's House" has a very symbolic title
Nora the main character in the play, is the doll living in the dollhouse

She is not capable of doing things on her own just like a doll cannot do things on its own

Christmas and New Years Christmas Tree Noras fancy dress costume The Tarantella Skylark Macaroons Stockings Black Hats Light

Christmas and New Years

Christmas and New Year's are both associated with rebirth and renewal Both Nora and Torvald have a spiritual awakening, which could be seen as a rebirth

Krogstad and Christine are reborn as well - view their renewed love affair as a chance for salvation

Christmas tree

tree is an object of charm and pleasure, and its only real purpose is as something to look at parallel to Noras role in the house and to mimic Nora's psychological state

Nora's fancy dress costume

Symbolizes Noras pretending to enjoy her life.

Symbolic of the flawed state of her marriage

The Tarantella

Noras agitation at her struggle with Krogstad and with her husband.

Symbolize Nora's state of awareness

Symbolizes the way that Torvald treats Nora

like a child.

Symbolize Noras deceit to her husband.

Symbolize Noras temptation

Black hat
Symbolizes death


A Dolls House.Sparknotes .Retrieved on March 2, 2011 from

A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen. Retrieved on 2 March, 2011 from Symbols in A Dolls House . Retrieved on 2 March, 2011 from n-ibsens-a-doll-house