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 Doll’s 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 Nora’s 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 Torvald’s 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