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A Doll's House: Literary Devices

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Abena Ntim-Addae

on 24 February 2016

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Transcript of A Doll's House: Literary Devices

Biography of Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright, poet, and theater director. He was born on March 20 1828 in Skien, Norway but moved to Italy in 1862 and eventually moved to Germany in 1868. He lived a total of 27 years in Italy and Germany combined.
When he was about 8 years old, his family was thrown into poverty due to complications with his father's business. It was after this when Ibsen started to invest his time reading, writing, painting, and doing magic tricks.
He died on May 23 1906.
Henrik Ibsen's reading and writing skills flourished as he got older. Ibsen moved to Christiania (Oslo) and wrote his first play 'Catilina'. It unfortunately failed to receive any attention or notice. Some other examples of works are
The League of Youth
Pillars of Society
A Dolls House
Henrik Ibsen's work

Short Summary of A Doll's House
Literary devices are linguistic techniques that are used to produce special effects, convey meaning, and bring richness to a story, play, etc. Examples of literary devices include metaphors (comparisons between things without the use of 'like' or 'as') and similes (comparisons with the use of 'like' or 'as').
So.....what are Literary Devices?



Literary Devices in A Doll's House

The Christmas tree is symbolic of Nora's feelings or state of mind. At the beginning of the story, Nora is happy and is in a terrific mood. At this point, the Christmas tree is decorated and "lovely'. At the beginning of Act 2, when Nora is described as "walking about uneasily", Christmas tree is "stripped of its ornaments", and has has "burnt-down candle ends on its dishevelled branches"

The Christmas Tree
Foreshadowing is when an author gives information on what is going to happen later in the story or play. It is usually indirect and the readers do not realize the foreshadowing until the event actually happens. We see several instances of this in the play.
Dramatic Irony
A Doll's House: Literary Devices
The play A Doll's House is about a couple: Nora and Torvald Helmer. Nora Helmer once borrowed money from a worker at Torvald's bank, named Krogstad, to take the family to Italy so that Torvald could feel better after experiencing illness. Nora committed a crime to borrow this money: forging her father's signature. Krogstad uses this to blackmail Nora and says that he will disclose this crime if she doesn't convince Torvald let him keep his job. Nora eventually leaves her husband at the end of the play due to him treating her like a child and thinking so little of her. She also wanted the opportunity to discover herself.
The first literary device is Symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. Their symbolic meaning is usually very different from their actual meaning.
The story is set during the holidays; its Christmas time with New Years soon approaching. These two holidays are both significant of renewal or rebirth.

Question 1!
Why do you think this symbol was used or how do you think renewal/rebirth is portrayed in the play?
Nora: "...As I am now, I am no wife to you."

Helmer: "Nora! Nora! [looks around, and rises.] Empty. She is gone. [A hope flashes across his mind.] this most wonderful thing of all-?"
At the beginning of the play, Nora eats macaroons which is something Torvald doesn't want her to do. What do you think this foreshadows???
In the beginning of Act 2, Nora and the Nurse talk about the children and say:
Nurse: "You see, they are so accustomed to have their mamma with them."
Nora: "Yes, but, nurse, I shall not be able to be so much with them now as I was before."
This foreshadows Nora abandoning her children at the end of the play.
This foreshadows her rebellious nature towards Torvald at the end of the play.
This is the irony in speeches or situations that is understood audience (or readers) but not the characters in the play.
One example of Dramatic Irony in the play is how at the beginning of the play, Nora briefly talks about how Torvald's promotion would guarantee them a happy future that they would not have to worry about. However, the opposite happened when it played a role in destroying their marriage.
Nora herself is a symbol. She is symbolic of a doll (hence the name 'A Doll's House) and this is because she is treated by Torvald as one. This is shown through her childish behavior and how Torvald was in complete control of her life and did not allow her to do anything without his consent. Dolls are inanimate objects that cannot do anything and have to be controlled by someone or something, which is similar to Nora's situation.
Can you think of any other cases of dramatic irony in the play?
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