A Dolls House:
2. How does the imagery in the play aid the audience to appreciate the themes, the dramatic question(s), of the play?
A Doll's House is a play written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen depicting the story of a couple Nora and Torvald Helmer. The play specifically follows the journey of the character Nora's self-discovery and struggle against the oppression of her husband Torvald and the society that he represents. Ibsen uses non-verbal elements such as screen directions and setting descriptions to symbolize aspects of characters and their relationships to each other and the larger themes. The imagery of the stove and the furniture, the lighting and the doorway, the costume and the doll all aid the audience to appreciate the importance of appearances and self-identity. The furniture, specifically the stove, and decorations are key images that aid the in depth and understanding of the novel. The stove is introduced as an object of comfort and warmth. It protects one from the cold and those who appear threatening. For example, Nora is seen moving towards the stove through the stage directions, “going over to the stove” right after Helmer gives her a controlling, parent-like lecture (149). He expresses how much he dislikes borrowing money from other people and professes his frustration to Nora’s (when someone doesn’t consider the options). By gravitating towards the stove, Nora is yearning for love and comfort, something she is clearly not receiving from Helmer. The stove is also presented as a manner of warmth and serenity through the lonely and ill Dr. Rank. “He gets his fur coat from the hall and warms it at the stove” showing his desire for love. Just prior this stage direction Dr. Rank adds, “Wait, I’ll come with you” displaying that he is longing for companionship, someone to share his life with. “His fur coat” indicates that his is in need of warmth, something (he needs more of) since he has become ill. The stove provides warmth, comfort and love...
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