Symbolism of the Tree in 'a Dolls House' Henrik Ibsen

Topics: Christmas tree, Norway, Christmas Pages: 1 (443 words) Published: January 30, 2013
In “ A Dolls House” Henrik Ibsen makes use of different images which indirectly symbolise something else. A typical Christmas tree is a very strong species which adapts to changing surroundings and environments. It has stiff green branches which are covered in prominent needles. With age the tree is also said to change colour to a reddish-orange. The Obvious characteristic of all Christmas trees is the fact that they are grown in their natural habitat and then chopped down and moved into the house of a family where they are decorated with materialistic things whilst in actual fact they are dying. Its main aim in the house is to look decorative and bring the Christmas spirit together in the house. Ibsen has created many parallels between Nora and the tree. Like the Christmas tree, Nora is not in her natural habitat, she no longer lives with her father and this can be seen as taking its toll on her. Represented symbolically by the tree slowly dying, as is Nora whereas in the beginning she is strong yet she begins to get weaker as she begins to get caught up in her own web of lies. The tree may also symbolise these lies as on the outside it is all decorated to fulfil its purpose of looking pretty. Yet in actual fact it is just a tree that is covered in needles. Like the lies, the needles hurt people if they get close enough to touch them. The tree may also be seen as a representation of Nora’s role in the house. She is merely a decoration used to make the house a family look perfect. The fact that she dresses up the tree depicts herself as she dresses up for Torvald at the party yet he is not allowed to see her till the part begins, just as the children are not allowed to see the tree until it is done. The tree may also be seen as Nora’s mental state as at the end, the tree is “stripped of its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends on its dishevelled branches”, which is like Nora when she paces around the empty room on her own expressing that she is distressed...
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