A FEMINIST READING AND SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF HENRICK IBSEN’S ‘A DOLL’S HOUSE(5)

DOLL’S HOUSE(5)

Nora is vulnerable to the hazards and vandals lurking in the world. She may be raped, murdered in pitch darkness or turn insane. But “a wounded soul admits no cure.” Nora would not settle for a compromise. The optimistic expectation is that she will educate herself, acquire a promising career and obtain an enviable status in society as opposed to Helmer‘s designation in the bank. Well! anything is possible .‘A Doll’s House’ equally renders itself to symbolic significance. The play is ubiquitous with realism. The symbols such as the ‘macaroons’, the ‘Christmas tree’, the ‘stove’ , the ‘light’ and the’ tarantella’ help us to grab a glimpse of the soreness and angst in Nora’s mind. Nora stealthily munches a macaroon or two sans Helmer’s knowledge. This action of her is not one of deception rather indicates the awe and reverence she holds for Helmer. When Nora is overwhelmed with Helmer’s promotion she also offers a macaroon for Dr.Rank, and says that they were purchased by Mrs.Linde. It also provides a scintillating evidence of Nora’s revolt against Helmer’s authority for it prohibits her from eating macaroons because it would ruin her teeth. Finally when she fails to persuade Helmer from averting Krogstad’s dismissal, she contemplates suicide and orders the maid to replenish their dinner with plenty of macaroons. Here the macaroons serve as an outlet to Nora’s depressed psyche.

The ‘stove’ is a conventional source of heat. In the play the significance of the stove extends not only to physical warmth but also offers mental consolation and resurgence. In Act I after directing Krogstad into Helmer’s study, Nora comes back and makes up the fire in the stove. Krogstad’s rendezvous with Helmer has invigorated a strange panic in Nora and her activities with the stove clearly indicate that she yearns for remedial treatment for her psychological trauma.

In Act II when Dr. Rank proclaims his love for Nora, she rebuts and exclaims: “Dear Dr. Rank that was really horrid of you.”

She calls out to the maid, Irene asking for a lighted lamp. The need for a lighted lamp indicates that such lecherous intentions of Dr.Rank would be entertained only in darkness, which would obliterate with the advent of light. Similarly when Dr.Rank obtains a cigar from Helmer, Nora prefers to light it. This emphasizes that Nora was the only source of comfort and consolation for Dr.Rank’s ominous existence.