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Metaphor in A Doll's House

Metaphor Examples in A Doll's House:

Act I

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"nice little dolly children..."   (Act I)

Dolls are toys, meant to be played with. They do not have any agency or will of their own. In many cases, they are purely decorative. By calling her kids “dolly children,” Nora is indicating that they are fun to play with but also subject to the whims of their parents, the people “playing” with them. All Nora has to do is hand them off to the nurse and they are no longer her problem. Torvald’s behavior reinforces this, showing no desire to play with his kids and describing their entrance as the start of a scene only “bearable” by a mother.

"Sleep well, Doctor Rank...."   (Act III)

Rather than bemoaning the doctor’s death or offering lengthy condolences, Nora offers a more subdued goodbye. The trope of death being akin to sleeping is a common one. In act IV, scene I of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero says: “We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep.” By telling Doctor Rank to “sleep well,” Nora acknowledges the inevitability of his death. By requesting that he wish her the same, she acknowledges her own intentions to die soon.

"—I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage..."   (Act III)

Krogstad uses this metaphor (a comparison without using the terms ‘like’ or ‘as’) to describe how he felt when Mrs. Linde chose to marry her late husband instead of him. Mrs. Linde replies that she had her mother and younger brothers to look out for and she needed financial stability, which Krogstad could not offer her. When Krogstad says that he is “clinging to a bit of wreckage” he might be suggesting that he is still in love with Mrs. Linde.

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