Essay on Symbols in a Doll's House

Words: 986
Pages: 4

Nora's fancy dress costume

Torvald chooses Nora's fancy dress costume, a Neapolitan fisher-girl's dress that he had made for her in Capri. In effect, she is wearing it for him: the sight of her dancing in it throws him into a state of erotic fascination. This reinforces the idea that it is Nora's superficial and transient qualities, such as her beauty, that Torvald most appreciates. It is significant that when the Nurse first brings out the dress (Act 2), Nora notices that it is torn and is tempted to rip it to shreds. This may be symbolic of the flawed state of her marriage and of her feelings about it. Mrs Linde, who is less impetuous and more mature than Nora, suggests repairing it, and it is Mrs Linde who decides that Nora and
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Christmas tree

In Norway, Christmas is an important family celebration, but the focus of the festivities and the opening of presents occurs on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is something of an anti-climax. This is paralleled by events in the play. At the beginning of the play on Christmas Eve, Nora still believes her marriage to be happy. We see her ordering the Christmas tree to be brought in and insisting that it is hidden until she has decorated it. Symbolically, this alerts us to the fact that there are hidden aspects to life in this household, that a carefully created appearance is what matters, and that Nora is the keeper of appearances. Significantly, when she is trying to wheedle Torvald into keeping Krogstad in his job, she draws his attention to how pretty the flowers on the tree look.
By Christmas Day, the tree is stripped of its ornaments and its candles have burnt out (a link with the symbol of light). By this point, Torvald has refused to keep Krogstad in his job and Nora feels sure that Krogstad will reveal all to him. The carefully maintained appearance of the happy marriage is disintegrating under the encroachment of truth.
New Year's Day

New Year's Day is traditionally viewed as a new beginning, and the Helmers at the beginning of the play are looking forward to just such a new beginning. Torvald is due to start a new and better paid job at the bank, and Nora anticipates being "free" from her