Symbolism In “A Doll’s House” An How It Reinforces The Themes

A Doll’s House is a play that focuses mainly on the theme of marriage and the exploration of love that may be found in it. Symbols can be used to great effect to reinforce the theme of love and marriage together with other notable ones that litter the play. Nora and Torvald are first presented as the ideal couple, with their marriage being used as an example of what true love is all about. The purpose of this essay is to provide evidence of how symbolism in the play has been used to reinforce the themes used in the play.

To begin with, the Christmas tree that was delivered to Nora’s house symbolizes the unity, joy, and happiness of her family. The tree makes her house attractive and pleasant. The tree is however stripped when Act Two begins and all the candles burned out. (Lee 8) The stage directions also dictate that they are meant to look “bedraggled” to represent an end to Nora’s innocence while at the same time foreshadowing the eventual disintegration of the Helmer family.

In the play, Torvald forbids Nora from consuming macaroons. In the beginning of the play, Nora had initially claimed that there will never be an instance when she disobeys her husband. Her claim is soon proven false when she is seen eating the macaroons in her living room(Nisbett and Nisbett 12). The macaroons are used here to symbolize her deceit and disobedience. It is true that she intentionally lies to Dr. Rank when she says that she was given some of the forbidden fruits by Mrs. Linde. They also symbolize her hidden passions that she has to keep suppressed in the marriage.

Nora also accuses both her father and Torvald of treating her like a mere doll. She goes as far as comparing her life to that of a doll’s house. The doll is used to symbolize the life that Nora has chosen to live, to submit and be obedient to her husband and allowing him to “play” with her when her wished to(Ibsen). There is evidence of this in the first part of the play where Dora plays her role as a wife without questioning anything her husband does.

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