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A Feminist Literary Stance, Roles Of Women In Henrik Ibsen’s Play A Doll’s House And George Eliot’s Novel Middlemarch

1599 words - 6 pages

A feminist literary stance, roles of women in
Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House
&
George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch are based on events from their personal experiences. The events that lead Ibsen to feel the need to write A Doll’s House makes his approach on the feminist stance a bit more unusual from other writers. Ibsen shows his realist style through modern views and tones that are acted out by the characters in this infamous story. In the viewers’ eyes, it is the women in A Doll’s House that makes it so popular, Nora and Christine give readers a real sense of Ibsen’s feminist stance. George Eliot makes her feminist stance in Middlemarch in much the same way as Ibsen. In Middlemarch, one of the main female characters, Dorothea, wants control of her life and chooses happiness over wealth. These female characters from these well-known works are represented in such a way to give readers a grasp of the social conditions involving women.
A Doll’s House (Et dukkehjem in Norwegian), was written by an 1879 playwright by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play was controversial when it was first released, because it is extremely critical of marriage norms in the 19th century. It follows the route of most popular plays until the end, when it does not finish in an unraveling, but with a discussion. Many people think of it as the first true feminist play, but Ibsen denies it. When Ibsen first publishes it, it is called "A Fool's House", but due to very heavy criticism he changed the title. In this story, Nora is portrayed as a middle aged housewife who has childlike ways. Torvald, her husband, calls her childish names like “lovely singing bird” and “my little squirrel” (Ibsen). Nora finds herself trying to help others by putting on an act, but by the end of the play she finds out that the only one that needed the help was herself. Nora says, “Exactly as before, I was your little skylark, your doll, which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care, because it was so brittle and fragile. Torvald - it was then it dawned upon me that for eight years I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children” (Ibsen). Nora keeps a lot of secrets within the house from Torvald. For example, she lies about “eating macaroons” and about how she “acquired the loan” (Ibsen) for her husband’s care. Nora never intends to tell Torvald her secret, but he reads the letter and found out and it ends up costing Nora her family.
After seeing that she is not but a “doll” trapped in her own imperfections, she becomes confused about her stay in the house. Nora finds out she does not “exactly know what religion is” and has “no idea what is going to become of her” (Ibsen). Nora tells the truth about her lies, is embarrassed, and then is forced to face her imperfections. Nora realizes she is not a child anymore and tells Torvald “I am going to see if I can make out who...

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