Comparing A Doll House, By Henrik Ibsen And Hedda Gabler, By Henrik Ibsen

1985 words - 8 pages

The feminist Lois Wyse once stated, “Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.” Women should express remorse for their strengths, when men should feel guilt when exposing their weaknesses. Wyse believed that women should have been able to show their strengths in their oppressive societies instead of covering them up. The 19th century setting in the two plays, A Doll House and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, caused much grief in both Nora and Hedda. They both lived in Europe during the 1800’s where males dominated the way society ran. Ibsen created an environment for women to question the society they lived in. Nora and Hedda, two feminists living in a masculine household bereft of happiness, desired to evade their unhappy life at home under the guidance of a man. Eventually, both women escaped from their husband’s grasps, but Hedda resorted to suicide in order to leave. Nora agreed with Lois Wyse by showing her strengths with pride to everybody, while Hedda hid her strengths like a coward by killing herself. Ibsen used numerous literary elements and techniques to enhance his writing and to help characterize the two protagonists. Nora, characterized as a benevolent and strong person, left her husband to explore the beliefs in society and to interpret ideas herself. Unlike Nora, the belligerent, selfish Hedda destroyed the lives of people around her just to take her own life in the end. Even though it appeared that Nora abandoned all responsibility for her children and hid an insidious secret from her husband, Nora showed greater fortitude than Hedda in the way she faced the obstacles of her life.
Although it appeared that Nora abandoned her family, society restrictions provided her no other option. The 19th century patriarchy she lived in forced her to escape the wall of obstacles that slowly built around her. Ibsen’s use of setting made it impossible for Nora to endure the constraints put on her. As a woman, she could not hold the responsibility that a male held, and Nora refused to live in the society that everyone else accepted. Ibsen wrote, “Torvald: You loved me the way a wife ought to love her husband…No, no—just lean on me; I’ll guide you and teach you. I wouldn’t be a man if this feminine helplessness didn’t make you twice as attractive to me” (Pg. 107). His diction proved that women were considered secondary citizens to the point where it was a woman’s duty to love her husband in a certain manner. Despite having an easy lifestyle, Nora found no incentive to move forward under her current life, and she wished that she could have a goal to aspire to. Torvald was a puppeteer who controlled every aspect of Nora’s life and he acted as a teacher guiding a young student. The society forced her to leave her husband and her children, not her. “Nora: He used to call me his doll –child, and he played with me the way I played with my dolls. Then I came into your house—” (Pg. 109). Ibsen’s metaphor compared Nora’s...

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