Symbolic Meanings In A Doll’s House


A Doll’s House is the play written by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright. In the play, the writer has used several symbols like the Christmas tree, New Year day, the Tarantella, the doll house and the macaroons to convey his expected meaning to the readers. Doll’s House is a play where a woman emancipates from the all the rights which a husband claim to have over his wife. The title of the play is very interesting as it is made from two words Doll + House which means a house where a woman lives with no mind.

Nora Helmer is the doll who is being played by her father in the childhood and later on by her husband (Torvald). Nora has been treated like an infant when she was kid and same when she grew up and married. Nora in the play is shown as an insane woman who is living her life on the terms laid by her husband and wasting her time in meaningless activities.

The symbols used in the play are described as below

The Christmas Tree

Christmas is an important festival in Norway. The play started with Christmas tree which plays a very significant role in the play. Nora wants her marriage to be happy and ordered a Christmas tree which she hid till it is decorated fully to shower happiness at home. Nora is having a hiding nature as she has borrowed some money from Krogstad to which she was not able to return. So she is keeping this secret by trying to convince Torvald to keep Krogstad in his job. Nora was unhappy with her married life but she was pretending to be happy. Nora was gifted a dress by Torvald which was found torn but still, Nora wore that dress to keep Torvald in the state of erotic fascination.

New Year’s Day

New Year means setting new aims and achieving some goals in the upcoming year. In this play, Torvalt got a new highly/better-paid job at the bank. Now Nora wanted to get a bit free from household activities so she left her children and Torvald at home so that she could return the borrowed money to Krogstad. Nora was immature in the beginning of the play but later on, she got matured as she used her sexual attractiveness to manipulate the dying Dr. Rank into giving her money to pay off her loan. Nora wants to create an atmosphere so that Dr. Rank agrees for giving her money.

The Tarantella

The Tarantella is a very famous Italian dance normally done by a couple and is named after tarantula spider which is poisonous and is renowned for creating an urge for wild dance. The cure prescribed by the doctors was to dance wildly until one is exhausted. Torvald wants to keep Nora alone in her marriage and she dances more wildly so that Torvald hears her and can’t read the Krogstad’s letter. This means that Nora is dancing wildly to free herself from the poison which Krogstad brought in her life.


Macaroons in the play represent Nora’s disturbed state of mind and her childish tendencies in the play. Macaroons are the cookies which Nora eats even after prohibited by Torvald. Nora claims that she always obeys to her husband which is proved wrong when Nora eats macaroons when she was alone in the room and this showed the disobedient nature of Nora. After the performance of the Tarantella, Nora asked her maid to serve Macaroons at the dinner plate showing her inner passion and macaroons.

The Doll’s House

Nora bought the cheaper dolls for her daughter in the beginning of the play as her daughter will break them soon which shows that she wants her daughter to be like her. She thinks that from the childhood she has been treated like a doll by her husband and father with no thoughts of her own. Torvald sees her as a small child and wants to be dependent upon him. The word doll refers to a woman with no will of her own and Nora is treated in a similar manner.

From the above discussion, we can sum up that the above symbols played a very important role in the play as they depicted the nature of both husband and wife.

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