Symbolism In 'a Doll's House' By Ibsen

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How does Ibsen use symbolism to convey aspects of modern domestic tragedy in 'A Doll's House'? In ‘A Doll’s House’; Henrik Ibsen successfully uses symbolism to convey many aspects of the tragic tale of the Helmer’s life, including the way that the protagonist, Nora feels towards her marriage at the end of the play, the true but unrequited love the character Dr. Rank has for her and the tragedy that is the death of an individual and the death of a family. ‘A Doll’s House is defined as a ‘modern domestic tragedy’ which is a genre of drama in which the tragic protagonists are ordinary middle or lower class individuals, as opposed to the royal or aristocratic protagonists of classical tragedy. The focus in the play is on the household and the repercussions within this environment, opposed to the effect on a national level, which is usually portrayed in more classical tragedy. Ibsen’s eye for resemblance and use of symbolism highlights issues that he wanted to convey about the social environment at the time, including the harsh patriarchal society, seen mostly in Torvald in the play and the role of women, represented mostly in Nora. These symbols act as foreshadowing before the tragic events at the end of the play, as they show the problems which lead to the demise of the Helmer’s ‘perfect’ family life. The name of the play itself ‘A Doll’s House’ is symbolic of the domestic dynamic in the Helmer’s household, as it reflects Nora’s position as the ‘doll’ in Torvald’s doll house. It is clear from this that Nora is seen by Torvald as an accessory or pet, who is simply for aesthetic purposes—"The squanderbird’s a pretty little creature but she geets through an awful lot of money. It’s incredible what an expensive pet she is for a man to keep". Torvald’s constant referral to Nora as a small creature, such as ‘songbird’ and ‘little squirrel’ highlight her fragility and is
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