A Doll's House

Tarantella Dance: A representation of the Helmer marriage 12th Grade

Ibsen’s use of the symbol of the Tarantella dance is instrumental in demonstrating the changing dynamics and progression of Nora and Torvald’s marriage. The intensely dramatic and passionately performed Tarantella dance depicts a different side of Nora as she transforms herself into a Neapolitan fishergirl in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. The Tarantella dance scene, along with the various conversations between the characters, depicts several aspects of the Helmer marriage such as Torvald’s urge to control Nora’s every action, the suppression of Nora’s desires, Torvald’s constant belittling and objectification of Nora and Nora’s manipulative nature.


Nora’s suppression in the Helmer marriage is characterized by Torvald’s objectification of her which takes the form of a masquerade. Torvald constantly belittles and dehumanizes Nora by referring to her as a “skylark” or a “squirrel” which emphasizes the role-playing that exists within their married life. Torvald turns these endearments into condescending terms by prefacing them with the adjective “little”. He views himself as superior and as having the upper hand in their marriage. However, there is more to this masquerade than simple name calling. The Tarantella dance...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1175 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9061 literature essays, 2377 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in