• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A Doll's House Externalizing Inner Problems

Extracts from this document...


A DOLL'S HOUSE Venesia Teh 16. Discuss instances where Ibsen is able to "externalize" inner problems by using effective symbols. When writing A Doll's House, Ibsen had planned it to be a realistic play. To do this, he must portray the fluent speech of everyday life, and unnecessary monologues must be prevented. Hence, Ibsen cleverly employs certain symbols in his play to externalize the characters' inner thoughts. Throughout the whole play, the characters' actions and words often carry an implicit meaning, and subtly reflect what they are thinking. This technique is already evident at the start of the play, even with minor or seemingly insignificant situations. Small actions can tell the audience more about each character. For example, when Torvald was lecturing Nora about wasting and borrowing money, she goes over to the stove, stating, "Very well, Torvald, if you say so". This obviously shows that Nora is sulking, reflecting her childish character. This action is again used when Krogstad comes to see her husband, though for a different reason. Nora [tensely and in a low voice, taking a step towards him]: You? What is it? Why do you want to see my husband? Krogstad: Bank business - in a way. I have a small post at the Savings Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our new Manager - Nora: So it's only - Krogstad: Only dull official business, Mrs. Helmer; nothing else whatever. Nora: Well, You'll find him in his study. [She bows perfunctorily and shuts the hall door. Then she goes over and attends to the stove.] In this case, Nora attending to the stove suggests her trying to calm down and sort out her thoughts. ...read more.


This illustrates her palpable anxiety about Krogstad's threat of disclosing her forgery, and her desperate wish to destroy the evidence, as well as reflect her plan to immediately pay off everything she owed as to reclaim the offending bond and destroy it. This plan links to her previous conversation with Mrs. Linde, where Mrs. Linde had wrongly assumed that Dr. Rank was the imaginary "rich admirer" who provided the money for Nora. Nora: No, it would never have entered my head to ask Dr. Rank. Though I'm quite sure if I were to ask him... Mrs. Linde: But of course you wouldn't. Nora: Of course not. I can't imagine there'd be any need. But I'm quite sure that if I told Dr. Rank - Nora is reminded that Dr. Rank is quite well-off when Mrs. Linde was discussing about him, "Is Dr. Rank rich?...Oh yes"; and she appears to be considering about asking him for money, as shown twice in the above dialogue, where she distractedly ponders aloud in unfinished sentences, "I'm quite sure if I were to ask him", with an emphasis on the were, and "I'm quite sure if I told Dr. Rank". Hence, with these words, Nora has indirectly publicised her plan of asking money from Dr. Rank to pay of the rest of the debt as to retrieve the bond and destroy it. Later, when Dr. Rank comes and visits Nora, he informs her of his prediction of his upcoming death. Nora: No, you're really being absurd today - and just when I so wanted you to be in a particularly good mood. ...read more.


"Helmer:...Do you realize what you've done? Answer me - do you realize?...Nora [looking fixedly at him, her expression hardening as she speaks]: Yes, now I'm beginning to realize everything?" Nora comes to a realization, not of what she had done to Torvald, but that he is not the man she thought him to be. Her disillusion is further displayed, "Nora looks fixedly at him without speaking" and when Torvald again angrily questions her about her understanding of her doing, "Nora [calm and cold]: Yes". Later, after Torvald receives another letter from Krogstad detailing his apology and with the bond enclosed inside, Torvald rejoices and after destroying all the evidence, resumes to his normal state and forgives his wife. Nora returns to her room, and in reply to Torvald's question of her action, stated, "I'm taking off my fancy-dress". This sentence is meant in a literal way, but at the same time, also symbolizes Nora 'taking off' her illusions, removing her mask and role as Torvald's doll wife. This signifies the end of her marriage, and after a 'reckoning' with Torvald, she leaves him in search of her own life. Ibsen has cleverly used symbols to externalize the characters' inner problems in A Doll's House. From small actions such as moving to the stove, to significant symbols, such as the tarantella, he has managed to effectively convey to the audience what each character is thinking, and hints of upcoming events, without using too much monologue. While preventing the audience to be totally at sea at what is going on, it also keeps the play enjoyable and realistic, making A Doll's House as popular as it is. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Henrik Ibsen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Henrik Ibsen essays

  1. A Dolls House Use Of Language

    Dr Rank is dying. He refrains from telling Torvald of his death because it is too "ugly" an idea for Torvald to tolerate, but he does tell Nora, this shows a strong bond between them. He talks with her about his coming death in a code that excludes Torvald and protects him from harsh reality.

  2. Reviewing a live performance - Henrik Ibsen's : A Doll's House.

    * The set used very deep, monotone, rich colours which created an austere ambience to show the rigidity of the lifestyle people had to live by according to Victorian societal standards. * The set design showed several ideas and emotions that reflect the conjugal situation of Nora and Torvald Helmer.

  1. Additional scene for Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" occurring shortly after Nora has left. ...

    I thought you might just like to think about your actions, because I don't think I'm the one who should be angry anymore, I'm not. You need to change, change, and maybe then I would have done some good. (Torvald sits down)

  2. "Do you want your characters to live? See to it that they are free." ...

    Tesman, though dominant in his society, is still a child to his "Aunty Julie", the rhyming first and second names adding something to his juvenile dependence, and takes "the enchanting Hedda Gabler"iv on a honeymoon and chooses to spend his time in research for his book.

  1. To understand the meaning of A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen we read the ...

    They can leave if they want to. Rank showed me that when he told Nora he loved her he felt confused. The only reason Rank was confused was because Nora was confused. This is also showing socialism turning around. The man is chasing the woman in this situation.

  2. Hedda Gabler and Mrs. Alving in Search for Freedom

    in and Hedda's creative potential and suppressed sexuality are distorted into a storm of malevolence. Ibsen reveals through the cold, snobbish aesthete Hedda the serious psychological implications and consequences an individual's denial of self-realization and sexuality can have. Hedda is fascinated by Lovborg's "hunger for life" and "courage" that she is so afraid to express in her own life.

  1. A Doll 's House Vs. Three Sisters

    She feels that Torvald has taken so much away from her and she wants to gain it back, by going back home. When Nora lived back at home she lived with and was raised by her father and the maid.

  2. Dolls house Plot and Subplot ...

    In Ibsen's time women were often stigmatised whereas men could escape virtually all blame. In the play very little is as it first seems, Nora at first appears to be silly, immature, naive little girl but we then learn she has made great sacrifices to save her husbands life, and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work