A Doll’s House
In the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen our main character, Nora Helmer, seems to be an immature and selfish housewive. Not long after the play begins we discover that Nora has borrowed money from a man named Neils Krogstad, who works for her husband. She borrowed the not to spend and be selfish, but to save her husband’s life who was dying from an illness. When Nora tries to help her friend get a job working for her husband is when the real action takes place. In order for her friend to get the job her husband has to fire Krogstad. When Krogstad hears of this he blackmails Nora and threatens to tell her husband that she had borrowed the money from him. This puts Nora in a bad position and no matter what she does she can not win. In many literary works, there are different elements that authors use to help explain the characters and the events that take place in the story. In the play “A Doll’s House” Ibsen uses imagery to show how the protagonist, Nora Helmer, is viewed by the other characters of the story. Ibsen specifically uses animal imagery to help us understand how Nora is perceived. Most of this imagery is used towards Nora, coming from her husband Torvald Helmer. He uses a couple different types of animal imagery to describe his wife throughout the play.
First, he uses bird imagery because this is how he views his wife. Not saying he thinks she looks like a bird, but he calls her this because it is how she is portrayed throughout the play. Early on in the play Torvald asks, “Is that my skylark twittering out there?” So not only does he call her a bird but he specifically calls her a lark. A lark is a carefree songbird, and is thought to be a happy animal. He uses a lark because this is how Ibsen wants Nora to be perceived as the play progresses. From the beginning of the play Nora is portrayed as a carefree woman and very high spirited, as many people may view a lark. Torvald also calls Nora “my little lark” when she is walking around the room and humming to herself. Any time that Nora acts happy, or as if she has no worries her husband thinks of her as a lark. Just like Nora, birds may have inner struggles like finding food so that they are able to survive. Even though they have these struggles they do not show and the birds are still a symbol of happiness. Torvald wants Nora to be like a bird, happy no matter what the situation. He might possibly want her to be this way so badly that he actually thinks that Nora is emotionless to what happens in her life, and is always happy.
Next, Torvald changes the nickname he has for her and calls her a squirrel. Although a we may see a squirrel and a lark as completely different kinds of animals, if you think about it long enough Nora has characteristics of both animals. A squirrel is different because most people would not characterize a squirrel as being happy or carefree. Instead, people would view a squirrel as a rodent, and as a very sneaky animal to say the least. Nora also takes on some attributes of a squirrel throughout the play because of her hiding what she had done from her husband. By using a squirrel for his animal imagery, Ibsen, to an extent, foreshadows that Nora may be hiding something or sneaking around. By doing this she was being very sneaky and to an extent deceptive.
Later on in the story when Torvald was going to fire Krogstad, Nora begs her husband to let him keep his job. After Torvald tells Nora that he must fire Krogstad, Nora gets emotional and as her husband tries to calm her he notices her eyes look like “frightened dove’s eyes.” Most people know that a dove is a symbol of peace or purity. Torvald does not realize that Nora is actually trying to keep peace by attempting to prevent him from firing Krogstad. If Torvald were to fire Krogstad then Nora’s secret would then be revealed and he would discover everything. After Torvald finds the note from Krogstad he is furious and goes off on Nora. When Nora...