Themes And Symbols In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1482 words - 6 pages

“I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’a doll-child” (Ibsen 1491). Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House tells a story of scandal and deceit set in the Victorian era. Nora Helmer is married to Torvald Helmer and she feels more like his toy than his wife. Nora had to have Torvald to be able to do anything, because of when she lived. Nora borrows money behind her husband’s back (which is illegal at this time) and tries to cover up everything she has done. Ibsen employs the use of many themes and symbols in his A Doll House to show the reader just how Nora was a doll-child who evolved into a doll-wife.

The central theme of A Doll House is a true marriage us a joining of equals. The entire play centers in on the crumbling of a marriage that is just the opposite of this. At the beginning of the play both of the Helmers seem happy with their marriage. Though, as the play moves along the imbalance becomes more and more apparent. By the end of the story, the marriage falls apart because of a complete lack of understanding between Torvald and Nora. Together in wedlock, the two cannot realize who they are as individuals. They can only see themselves as part of the marriage.

Another very important theme in this play is the home. From the very beginning of the play home is a place of comfort, joy, and shelter. The idea of home is woven into the idea of a happy family, which the Helmers seem to be. Towards the end of the play, the happiness in the Helmer household changes and the imbalance of power becomes a major issue. At this point, the seemingly happy home is revealed as just people putting on an act for each other and the outside world. The Helmers put up a façade, a doll's house, as a way of hiding the tension between themselves.

In the end it is revealed to the reader that the Helmer home is really more like a prison than a comforting, joyfilled shelter.

There are two other major themes in this play, femininity and masculinity. Nora has often been given the title of one of modern drama’s first feminist heroines. She breaks away from a dominating and opressive marriage. Ibsen, denied that he had intentionally written a feminist play and preferred to think of it as humanist. This said though, the traditional roles of women and the price of them breaking tradition is a constant thread throughout the play. The men of this play, in many ways, are just as trapped by gender roles as the women. An example of this is the job that Torvald Helmer holds at the bank, chief. The men must be providers and alone must support the entire household. At the end of this play these traditional ideas are put to the test, when Nora leaves and Torvald must care for the children and be their provider.

Ibsen also employs the use of many smaller themes within his play, A Doll House. Respect and reputation, love, lies and deceit, and money are just a few of these smaller themes. Respect and reputation are something that the men of this play are obsessed...

Find Another Essay On Themes and Symbols in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

963 words - 4 pages What comes to mind when the word morals is said? Whose morals should be followed, individual or group? In A Doll House, Ibsen portrays the protagonist, Nora, to follow the morals of her husband, Torvald. Four key aspects that help Nora decide to change her mind and make a decision to leave Torvald. These include the constant change of nicknames, the questioning of her own independence, the questioning of Torvald's love, and the realization...

The Theme of Escape in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1150 words - 5 pages Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, a tragic play set in the late 1800’s, is one women’s realization of her life as merely that of a doll living out her life as an object in a world dominated by the males around her. Ibsen points the reader in the right direction to the deeper meaning of the play in the title. The title “A Doll’s House”, a metaphor, causes the reader or watcher of the play to think what deeper meaning lies ahead. The play takes...

The Theme of Feminism in Henrik Ibsen’s "A Doll’s House"

2867 words - 11 pages This paper will analyze the theme of the dependent women in this play. In order to do this I will discuss the following subject area. These subject areas are: female passivity; her economic and social dependence, and her dependence through her children. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen argues that a dependent woman will be passive and unwilling to speak her mind. She will not try to understand the abstract reality of life, unless it contain to her...

The Masquerade in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1014 words - 4 pages    In A Doll House, Ibsen presents us with Torvald and Nora Helmer, a husband and wife who have lived together for eight years and still don't know each other. This rift in their relationship, caused in part by Torvald's and Nora's societally-induced gender roles and also by the naivete of both parties to the fact that they don't truly love one another, expands to a chasm by the end of the play, ultimately causing Nora to leave Helmer....

The Plot in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1725 words - 7 pages The play A Doll House (1879), by Henrik Ibsen, has a realistic feel that compels the reader to identify with the main characters and the situation that they find themselves facing. The wife, Nora, is in all but one scene, and nearly all the scenes occur in a single room. She is the main character, and it is her unraveling and self-discovery that the reader is spectator to. Act I begins by introducing Nora Helmer. She enters the room...

Rights of Women in the Nineteenth Century and in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1095 words - 4 pages Henrik Ibsen, who was born in Norway but made his name internationally, was a painter as well as the one of most famous playwrights during the period of Realism. Ibsen’s plays are well-known by the themes of domestic and political issues and conflict in nineteenth century. Scholars call it “Ibsen’s problems play” (Henrik Ibsen, 650). In addition, in Ibsen’s plays, the general topics that are usually discussed are hypocrisy of the society,...

Significance of food items in August Strindberg’s Miss Julie and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1559 words - 6 pages Title: Significance of food items in August Strindberg's Miss Julie and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.The relative importance of the theme of food varies in the different spheres of literature. In nineteenth and twentieth century literature the culinary habits of the characters generally emphasised on their social standing and racial identities,...

A Feminist Literary Stance, Roles of Women in Henrik Ibsen’s Play A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Novel Middlemarch

1599 words - 6 pages A feminist literary stance, roles of women in Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House & George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch are based on events from their personal experiences. The events that lead Ibsen to feel the need to write A Doll’s House makes his approach on the feminist stance a bit more unusual from other writers. Ibsen shows his realist style through modern views and tones...

Societal Views of Women in the Victorian Era in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

898 words - 4 pages Societal Views of Women in the Victorian Era in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, creates a peephole into the lives of a family in the Victorian Era. The play portrays a female viewpoint in a male-dominated society. The values of the society are described using the actions of a woman, Nora, who rebels against the injustices inflicted upon her gender. Women’s equality with men was not recognized by society in the...

Reasons for Nora Helmer to Stay in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1061 words - 4 pages In "A Doll House" Ibsen made a very controversial act, by having Nora leave her husband and her family. After first reading the play I thought that what Nora did was the right thing to do. But after thinking about I now realize that wasn't the right thing to do. Yes, Torvald was not the best husband in the world, but Nora should have considered that before she married him. To turn your back on your spouse is one thing, but to turn your back...

Henrik Ibsen's A Doll’s House

1388 words - 6 pages A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a realistic drama that explores how the imbalanced treatment of women can dictate who they become. Nora Helmer embodies the need for evolution in regards to women and their roles within the family. The importance of this play, which was written in 1879, is still relevant in the modern world. This play helps to bring attention to the characters people play as a result of their circumstances. The...

Similar Essays

Facades In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1309 words - 5 pages When a young girl plays with her doll house, she imagines a make-believe world full of enchantment. However, little does she realize the false and unattainable image of perfection that lies before her. With every miniature doorway and elaborate bookcase, the doll house disguises reality with a mask of flawless excellence. Similarly, Henrik Ibsen describes many appearances in A Doll House as mere façades of deception. These images...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1354 words - 5 pages Everlasting First Impression: Misleading First Impressions of Characters in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House A character’s introduction reveals the personality, attitude, and physical features of that individual. This first impression sets the emotional reaction to that character when ever he or she appears in the story. The certain mannerisms the author makes a character use, and the way others treat and react to the new character, demonstrate...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1527 words - 6 pages Societal appearance and acceptance is an utmost characteristic an average individual tends to underestimate. It may seem as if individual morals go against the social appearance, but in value, individuals perceive a need for an appearance to convey a sense of belonging. Within two diverse yet similarly realist drama's, A Doll’s House and Death of a Salesman societal appearance’s stands above all else. Henrick Ibsen's A Doll's House embarks on the...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay 1055 Words

1055 words - 4 pages In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House the main character, Nora Helmer, shows us the story of a woman who has borrow money without her husband’s consent in order to save his life. Although this noble act would be admired by most, Nora has to keep it a secret from Torvald Helmer, her husband, as he would see it as a betrayal. The measures that Nora takes in order to keep the loan a secret, create circumstances that bring Nora—whose only duty is to serve...