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Change And Conflict In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

1397 words - 6 pages

It sometimes takes a lifetime to change yourself, but changing in response to what other people want, without considering your own needs could be much more challenging. In a world without any flaws all people would be treated equally and with the same kind of respect. On the other hand, in the world we live in, almost all situations we find ourselves in have the potential to become a conflict. A Doll's House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, is an exceptional example of a conflict that exists as women are seen as possessions and not individuals by men. Ibsen uses the Christmas tree, macaroons, tarantella, and the doll’s house as symbols in A Doll’s House to express the flaws in a society that ...view middle of the document...

Transition: In the same way as the Christmas tree is a symbol for the role of women in society, macaroons also symbolizes this role.

From the beginning of A Doll’s House, the reader can view Nora’s desire for independence through the symbol of the macaroons. As an illustration, Ibsen notes in the stage directions in Act One, that Nora surreptitiously takes a packet of macaroons out of her pocket and eats one or two. When her husband, Torvald, gets home, Nora “Puts the bag of macaroons into her pocket and wipes her mouth” (Ibsen 4). Torvald has forbidden Nora eating macaroons because he thinks that her teeth will decay, rot and become unattractive to him. This shows that he thinks she is acting like a child, that she is not capable of making sound decisions and that she needs someone like him to show her what the correct behavior is. Furthermore in Act One, Nora asks Dr. Rank if he would like some macaroons. Dr. Rank replies with “What macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.” Then Nora replies with “Yes but these are some Christine gave me.” After that Christine acts surprised and says “What I ــ”. (Ibsen 17) Nora is telling a lie when she explains to Dr. Rank that Christine gave the macaroons to her and she eats them even though she's not allowed to. This indicate s that Nora is disobedient to her husband and it foreshadows that she has a desire to break away from his hold on her and from the rules set by society. Thus, the demands set by men on women are recurring through the symbol of macaroons.

Transition: Equally important as the macaroons in the play, is the tarantella dance.

The Tarantella is a famous dance that occurs as another symbol throughout the story. For instance, in Act Two, Nora informs Mrs. Linde that "Tomorrow evening there is to be a fancy-dress ball at the Stenborgs’, who live above us; and Torvald wants me to go as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the Tarantella that I learned at Capri.” (Ibsen 30,31). Nora learned the dance during her time in Italy and as it is very provocative and fiery, her husband asked her to dress up "as a Neapolitan fisher-girl", and dance it during the "fancy-dress ball". This shows that, even though the dance allows Nora to be independent and express herself through her own dance routines, she will yet again play along to her husband's orders, be the compliant wife and entertain him. Additionally, Nora uses the Tarantella towards the end of Act Two to distract her husband when faced with a crisis as she counts off the hours, "Five o’clock. Seven hours until midnight; and then four-and-twenty hours until the next midnight. Then the Tarantella will be over. Twenty-four and seven? Thirty-one hours to live” (Ibsen 48). Nora's husband, Torvald, fired Krogstad, and...

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