Doll\'s House By Ibsen
In many pieces of literary work, there are elements that are used to help
develop the audiences understanding of characters and events. In the play A

Dollís House * by Henrik Ibsen, animal imagery is used in the development of
the main character, Nora. It is also later found that the animal imagery is a
critical part in understanding who Nora is, and how other characters perceive
her. Ibsen uses creative, but effective, animal imagery to develop Noraís
character throughout the play. The animal imagery is carried out through the
dialect between Nora and her husband Torvald. He uses a lot of bird imagery,
seeming that Torvald thought of Nora as some kind of bird. It is also evident
that the animal names he calls Nora, directly relates to how Nora is acting or
how Torvald wants her to be portrayed. In Act I, Torvald asks, "Is that my
skylark twittering out there?" referring to Nora. A lark is a happy and
carefree songbird. A lark can also be used as a verb that means to engage in
spirited fun or merry pranks. Right from the beginning of the play it is evident
that Nora is a lively spirited and carefree woman, just as a lark might be.

Torvald again referrers to Nora early in the play as "my little lark" when
she is moving around the room and humming with a carefree spirit that might
characterize a lark. From this we might assume that whenever Nora has spirit or
is supposed to be happy, Torvald thinks of her as a bird, specifically a lark.

In contrast to Torvald calling Nora a lark, immediately after he refers to her
as a squirrel in asking, "Is that my squirrel rustling?" This is interesting
in the development of both Nora and Torvaldís characters because a squirrel is
quite different than a lark. A squirrel is a small furry rodent that tends to
have negative and sneaky connotations. If someone is to squirrel away something,
they are hiding or storing it. This is directly related to what Nora is doing,
she is hiding or "squirreling" away the bag of macaroons. Through the animal
imagery of the squirrel, Ibsen is also foreshadowing that Nora is hiding more
than just macaroons form Torvald. She is hiding that she borrowed money from

Krogstad, however we donít learn that until later in the play. Looking deeper
into the meaning behind Ibsenís animal imagery, we find that Torvald possibly
wants Nora to be a bird. The birds that Torvald calls her, such as "lark"
and "songbird" are stereotypically carefree, peaceful animals. This is the
case on the surface however. On the inside birds may have many struggles, such
as just finding food to survive. But these birds do not show their struggles,
and despite what they may be going through they are still a symbol of peace and
perfect happiness. This is how Torvald wants Nora to be, perfect and happy all
the time no matter what she really may want or be feeling. It is possible that
because he wants her to be this way, Torvald actually thinks she is this way,
always happy and that she shows no emotion to what is going on in her life. In

Act II, Nora begs Torvald to let Krogstad keep his position at the bank. When

Torvald says that it must be done, Nora gets quite worked up about it. When

Torvald calms her down, he notices her "frightened Doveís eyes." A dove is
the unmistakable symbol of peace, or peace keeping, which is in essence what

Nora it trying to do. If Torvald fires Krogstad then she will have to give him
the money she borrowed and things will be anything but peaceful after that.

However, Torvald does notice that Nora is trying very hard to convince him to
keep Krogstad at his bank, but be disregards it as her trying to keep things
right and refers to her as a peaceful dove. Later in Act II, Nora tries a
different tactic in keeping things peaceful and from Keeping Torvald from
finding out about the money she borrowed. She even goes as far as calling
herself all the names that Torvald calls her and she says that, "Iíd turn
myself into a little fairy and dance for you in the moonlight Torvald." She
does this because she wants Torvald to be happy with her at this point, for she
knows he is going to eventually find out about the money she owes. In