Analysis of "A Dolls House"

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Write a paper that explains how history is portrayed in a particular play emphasizing what a certain historical event, personage, or situation enables the playwright to communicate. Discuss what effect the playwright's transformation of historical reality has on an audience.

Henrik Ibsen's widely regarded work, A Doll's House, was first introduced in 1879 as a theatrical presentation of human rights. Today, Ibsen's work remains as such, although often conveyed as more focused on women's rights. The Norwegian playwright's vision of a seemingly common home is quickly translated through Ibsen's use of symbolism, setting, and diction.

Symbolism is a key aspect in much of Ibsen's writing, much of which can be dually interpreted as extended metaphors. For instance, the Christmas tree purchased at the beginning of the play; to be decorated primly and properly, clearly beautiful and new, sparkling in the main room, undergoes its own phases--as does the Helmer‘s marriage. By the end of the play it is bedraggled and worn, having completed its façade as a gorgeous centerpiece, as has Nora and Torvald's relationship. The money Nora pleads for as a Christmas gift is highly important to the piece. Her begging for the material object conversely resembles her conscientious desire to tell Torvald each detail of her woes and her yearning to have a serious conversation with him. Nora even states "I'll wrap the money in pretty gold paper…" showing that any truth she attempts to reveal will still be masked, or implying that perhaps Torvald will be the one to "unwrap the paper" and thus rid Nora of the wretched cloak which hides her true thoughts and person. Perhaps the most significant symbols are the pet names Torvald produces for Nora: squirrel, little skylark, and wastrel and their distinct synonymity to the word doll. Nora plays the role of the doll throughout the entire play, acting as her father's manipulative, as her husband's toy figurine, as her children's...
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