The symbolic significance of the Unicorn

Question: What is the symbolic significance of the unicorn?


The unicorn is an incredible animal that has been portrayed since ancient times as a monster with a single enormous, pointed, strengthening horn anticipating from its forehead. Laura has a unicorn in her collection of the glass menagerie. Basically, it represents Laura in the play “The Glass Menagerie”.

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The unicorn mirrors Laura in the drama. It has a horn on its forehead. This makes itself different from the other horses. Just as the unicorn, Laura is different from the other girls in her society. She likes to live alone with her glass menagerie and the old phonographs.

The fate of the unicorn is alike to the fate of Laura. During the dance of Jim and Laura, Jim accidentally collides against the table and the unicorn falls down and its horn breaks off. This symbolizes its loss of individuality. After breaking its horn, it becomes normal like other horses. Just like Laura, when she gives up her shyness to Jim, she turns into a normal girl like others.

The unicorn also symbolizes the extinction of Laura. As the unicorn is so rare, Laura is a rare type of girl in society.

Though once, some of her dolls fell and broke during the quarrel between Tom and Amanda, Laura cried a lot. But this time, when her favorite unicorn breaks off its horn, she remains calm. This proves that she attempts to put aside her fantasy world for the real one.

At the last moment of the play, when Jim tells her that he is already engaged with a girl named Betty, Laura gives him the broken unicorn for a memento. This scene represents Laura’s retreat into her own delicate world. Plus, it likewise reflects giving over her messed-up feelings to him.

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Besides being the favorite doll of Laura, the unicorn bears inner meaning in the play. We can say that the unicorn replicates Laura’s character, her thoughts, and her behavior throughout the drama. So the unicorn is, from a point of view, the complementary of Laura.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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