Thursday, 19 February 2015

Comment on the dramatic significance of the Christmas tree and the Tarantella dance in the play ‘A Doll’s House’

Henrik Ibsen’s famous play ‘A Doll’s House’ portrays a woman’s assertion of her independence and individuality by breaking off her family bonds. Nora Helmer is the protagonist of the play. She is treated as a doll by her self-righteous husband Torvald Helmer. In the Ist Act of the play Nora comes home after shopping for the Christmas and is brought home a Christmas Tree. This tree is set on the middle of the room and she makes a lot of decorations on the tree. The tree with its ornaments is a symbol of family happiness and security. While she is doing decorations on the branches of the tree, Nils Krogstad comes to her and threatens to write a letter to her husband enclosing the bond in which she fraudulently put the signature of her late father if she does not force her husband to reinstate him in his job in the bank. Poor Nora is desperate and lost interest in decorating the Christmas tree. She asks her maid to put away the Christmas tree. In the IInd Act we find the tree stripped of its ornaments with burnt down candle ends on its branches and standing in the corner of the piano. Thus the tree shows the loss of happiness and family security of Nora Helmer.

Another important symbol of the pain and sorrow of Nora is her Tarantella dance. She learned this dance from Capri in Italy when Nora took her husband to Italy for the medical treatment. The term tarantella is the name of a poisonous spider. Tarantella is a famous music for a fast whirling Italian drama usually performed by a single couple. Once upon a time this dance was supposed to be a ritualistic performance as a remedy for spider bite. In the play ’A Doll’s House’ tarantella is a music played by Torvald Helmer on the piano and according to the tune of the music, his wife Nora dances. When she is doing the rehearsal, she insists that her husband must give her coaching for two days up to the last minute and he must not open a single letter in these two days. He also is forbidden to open the letter box during these days. Torvald agrees to these conditions. Nora is afraid that at any moment Nil Krogstad comes and drops the letter in the box and the letter will ruin her family life for ever. In the rehearsal, both Torvald and Dr.Rank, the family friend of both Nora and her husband attend. But she dances so violently that both men were afraid that she went mad. In fact the violent tarantella dance that she performed in the rehearsal shows the desperate feelings and anxieties of Nora.  
In the IIIrd  Act of the play, the fancy dress ball ‘Tarantella is staged upstairs of their residence. Nora danced as a little Capri maiden, the poor fisher woman. The tarantella dance performed by Nora is a tremendous success. The audience admired the beauty and skill of Nora in her fancy dress ball. As soon as the dance is over, Torvald forcibly took Nora out of the hall. As soon as the fancy dress ball is over, both Nora and her husband has engaged in heated argument and in the end Nora goes out of her husband’s home for good.


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