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A Doll’s House Themes and Symbols


The Sacrificial Role of Women

A Doll’s House draws a drab portrayal of the role in life of women from all walks of life. The female characters in the play demonstrate Nora’s assertion that ‘even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, hundreds of thousands of women have.’ Kristine also indicated that she had sacrificed her own true love to marry a man with the wealth to support her family.  Lastly, Anne-Marie had to leave her own daughter to support herself by working as Nora’s caretaker.

Parental and Familial Obligations

Nora, Torvald and Dr. Rank each believe that a parent has an obligation to be honest and of good character, because the immorality of a parent will be passed on to their child(ren). Torvald believes so firmly in this that he was quoted as saying. “Nearly all young criminals had lying mothers” he also refuses to allow Nora to care for her children after learning of her deception, out of fear that she might corrupt them.

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The Christmas Tree

In the play, the Christmas Tree is symbolic of Nora’s role in her house as the plaything that serves the purpose of adding visual appeal and charm to the home. There are several elements linking Nora and the Christmas tree throughout the play. Much like when Nora tells the maid not to allow the children to see the Christmas Tree until it has been decorated, she also tells Torvald that no one should be allowed to see her in her dress until the evening of the ball.

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