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Let us remember that symbolism can relate to characters, actions and objects, and so part of the symbolism that can be attached to various characters are the kind of actions that they engage in. This can be clearly shown when we think of what happens between Niels and Clara after their marriage, and the kind of lives that they are shown to lead. The squalour in which Clara lives in the big house is of course symbolic of the general squalour of her life, and the violent action of Niels in beating one of his favourite horses with a club when it shies emerges from his feelings of rage and anger when he discovers that Clara is the town whore. In the same way, his violent murder of Clara is symbolic of the massive turmoil that is within him as he has to face up to the shame, regret and embarrasssment of what he has done in being seduced and then marrying Clara.
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