Animal SymbolismThe certain animals Ibsen choose to use in this play are important and symbolic. Torvald references Nora to be his squirrel. A squirrel is typically a pretty defenseless animal. In...

Animal Symbolism

The certain animals Ibsen choose to use in this play are important and symbolic. Torvald references Nora to be his squirrel. A squirrel is typically a pretty defenseless animal. In the beginning of the play Nora was defenseless. Torvald had manipulated her enough that she didn't realize how degrading these pet names are.

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The tarantella is a dance. There are no references to tarantulas or spiders in the play. So, let's clear that up. 

The animal references are largely limited to those made by Torvald in describing Nora. These are, as has been pointed out, degrading for the most part, comparing Nora to meek and beautiful animals which significancly lack ferocity. 

alisonjeaninelewis's profile pic

alisonjeaninelewis | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Along with the squirrel, he consistently calls her a bird or his pet. He even says, "My pretty little pet s very sweet, but it runs away with an awful lot of money. It's incredible how expensive it is for a man to keep such a pet." He took it upon himself to train her, keep her in check, and take care of her, just like a "pet".

There is also the very important reference to the "Tarantula." Some critics say Torvald himself may be the "Tarantula", always in pursuit and seemingly a very eerie and scary creature, but as a well one knows, tarntulas are harmless creatures. They have no posion. The tarantula is a symbol of Torvald, because as he appears ever-so-dominent, he's truly harmless, reguardless of the image he portrays.

cdevoucoux's profile pic

cdevoucoux | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Along with the squirrel, he consistently calls her a bird or his pet. He even says, "My pretty little pet s very sweet, but it runs away with an awful lot of money. It's incredible how expensive it is for a man to keep such a pet." He took it upon himself to train her, keep her in check, and take care of her, just like a "pet".

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