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Symbolism in “A Doll’s House” Play by Henrik Ibsen Report

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Updated: Feb 1st, 2021

What is the “main action” or “super objective” of the play?

The main objective of the play “A Doll’s House” is to advocate for the ability of each individual in making decisions that are not based on the influences of other persons around him or her. This is specifically targeted on the womenfolk not only of the nineteenth century that the play is set but also all the womenfolk who have not been able to make personal decisions. This theme is evident all the all three acts.

What is Mrs. Linde’s connection to Mrs. Helmer?

Mrs. Linde is Helmer’s old acquaintance who has come from the city in search of an employment opportunity which is not as strenuous as the jobs that she had been doing in the city (11).

What is the significance of Mrs. Helmer’s nicknames?

Symbolism is used in different ways in the play, one of them being the numerous nicknames by which Mr. Helmer refers to his wife. First, he refers to her as my little lark in the first act. This is an explanation of what he sees her as which is also the title a doll (Act 1).In another instant, he refers to her as a squirrel which is a reference to her little size. To show how much he treasures her he calls her “my richest treasure” (63).

What is Mrs. Helmer’s “crime”?

As Mrs. Helmer discloses to her friend Linde, she had once borrowed a loan from Mr. Krogstad to save her dying husband and also to sustain the family during a time when her husband was financially disadvantaged. In the process of borrowing the loan, Mrs. Helmer forged her father’s signature. The act of forgery is a crime.

How did Mr. Krogstad reveal Mrs. Helmer’s “crime”?

Mr. Krogstad discovers Mrs. Helmer’s crime after going through the documents clearly and finding out that the date that Mrs. Helmer’s father purportedly signed the document is actually three days after her father’s death and thus could not have signed the bond (40).

Why does Helmer reject any suggestion that he change his mind about firing Krogstad?

Mr. Helmer has just been promoted to the position of bank manager. Being fresh in this position he has to secure his reputation in the company which Mr. Krogstad threatens to destroy if not reinstated to his previous position. Thus he opts for reinstating him rather than having a destroyed reputation (67).

After Krogstad sends his letter to Helmer, how does Nora prevent her husband from reading it?

After discovering that Krogstad had sent her husband the letter informing him of her crime, Mrs. Helmer prevents her husband from reading the mail at least for a time by convincing him to help her in practicing for a dance. Mr. Helmer accepts to spend the whole evening coaching her after she dances so badly.

What is the symbolic significance of the dance that Nora has does at the Christmas party?

The Tarantella Dance in act two has a lot of symbolism. One, the dance involves exaggerated movement of the petticoat. In this act, Mrs. Helmer is exaggerating her incompetence in the act. Secondly, the dance is as uncertain as to the character of Mrs. Helmer in the whole prose (50).

Why does Mrs. Linde dissuade Krogstad from trying to recover his letter before Helmer reads it?

Mrs. Linde was initially for the option that Mr. Krogstad withdraws the letter before Mr. Helmer reads it. She later tries to dissuade him from retrieving the letter. In her view, it was important for Mr. Helmer to know the truth for the sake of the stability of their marriage.

Why does Nora decide that she must leave her husband and family?

Nora realizes that she had not lived her life normally. She had lived a puppet life to her father and now to her husband, Mr. Helmer. This propagates her to live her marital home and start her life anew, for instance, to practice her personality (79).

Works Cited

Madden, David. “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen in A Pockettful of Plays Vintage Drama Volume One. n.d. pp. 207 – 287.

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IvyPanda. "Symbolism in “A Doll’s House” Play by Henrik Ibsen." February 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/symbolism-in-a-dolls-house-play-by-henrik-ibsen/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Symbolism in “A Doll’s House” Play by Henrik Ibsen." February 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/symbolism-in-a-dolls-house-play-by-henrik-ibsen/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Symbolism in “A Doll’s House” Play by Henrik Ibsen'. 1 February.

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