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Animal Imagery in Henrick Ibsens

Animal imagery in Henrick Ibsen's play, The Doll House is a critical part of the character development of Nora, the wife of Torvald Helmer. The aforementioned play is a three-act play that takes place in the Helmer residence, in "a comfortable room, tastefully but not expensively decorated." It's the holiday season at the residence, "Christmastime" as it's told early in the play. Torvald asks Nora what she would like for Christmas. Nora wishes for money, because, unbeknownst to Torvald, she owes a large sum to Nils Krogstad for a promissory note loan he had given to her. The story goes on, and Torvald finds out about the note. The anger he directs at Nora extinguishes when he opens another letter from Krogstad with the note in it, saying that the note did not have to be paid back. Even so, Nora decides to leave Torvald, saying that he "never understood [her]" and that he "never loved [her]." That, in my opinion was the truth. Nora Helmer was a delicate character. She had been pampered all of her life, by her father, and by Torvald. She really didn't have a care in the world. She didn't even have to care for the children; the maid would usually take care of that. In every sense of the word, she was your typical housewife. She never left the house, mostly because her husband was afraid of the way people "would talk." I do not know if but a few people knew about their marriage, and that was they way Torvald wanted it to be. It really wasn't her fault she was the way she was. It was mostly Torvald's for spoiling her. Ibsen uses creative, but effective, animal imagery to develop Nora's character throughout the play. He has Torvald call his wife "his little lark" or "sulky squirrel" or other animal names throughout the play. He uses a lot of 'bird' imagery-calling her many different bird names. It seems to me that the name he uses directly relates to how Torvald feels about her at the time. The animals Ibsen chooses to use are related to ho...

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