A Doll's House

The Tarantella Symbol Analysis

The Tarantella Symbol Icon
Like the macaroons, the tarantella symbolizes a side of Nora that she cannot normally show. It is a fiery, passionate dance that allows Nora to drop the façade of the perfect mild-mannered Victorian wife. Throughout the play, Nora uses performance to please Torvald, and the tarantella is no exception; he admits that watching her perform it makes her desire her. However, this is only under very controlled circumstances, and Torvald seems to enjoy the fact that it is a performance that impresses other people more than anything.

The Tarantella Quotes in A Doll's House

The A Doll's House quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Tarantella. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of A Doll's House published in 1998.
Act Two Quotes

Now Dr. Rank, cheer up. You’ll see tomorrow how nicely I can dance. And you can pretend I’m doing it just for you—and for Torvald as well, of course.

Related Characters: Nora Helmer (speaker), Torvald Helmer, Dr. Rank
Related Symbols: The Tarantella
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

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Tell me what to do, keep me right—as you always do.

Related Characters: Nora Helmer (speaker), Torvald Helmer
Related Symbols: The Tarantella
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

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But my dear darling Nora, you are dancing as though your life depended on it.

Related Characters: Torvald Helmer (speaker), Nora Helmer
Related Symbols: The Tarantella
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Tarantella Symbol Timeline in A Doll's House

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Tarantella appears in A Doll's House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act Two
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...her that Torvald wants her to go as a Neopolitan fisher lass and dance the tarantella, which she learned while she was in Italy. She shows her the costume that Torvald... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...happy, remarking that she looks like a frightened dove. He suggests she run through the tarantella while he is in his study with both doors shut so he can’t hear anything.... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...him not too, but he persists. Nora begins to play the opening bars of the tarantella on the piano. Torvald stops to listen. Nora tells him that she won’t be able... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...the dining room, leaving Nora a moment alone. Nora counts out the hours until the tarantella and until midnight the next evening, eventually pronouncing: “Thirty-one hours to live.” Torvald calls from... (full context)
Act Three
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Linde interrupts Krogstad, saying that she can hear the tarantella. She explains this means the dance is about to end and that he must go.... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...if there is anything he can do he will do it. Mrs. Linde hears the tarantella ending and tells Krogstad to go. He says he will wait for Mrs. Linde downstairs,... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...sorry he didn’t let her stay longer. Torvald recalls the evening, saying Nora danced the tarantella well and was wildly applauded, although the dance was perhaps too realistic. He explains that... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...at his “most treasured possession.” He says that he can tell she still has the tarantella in her blood and that makes her even more desirable. He delivers a speech explaining... (full context)