Comparison Of A Doll's House And Antigone

1517 words - 6 pages

“The Empowered Woman, she moves through the world with a sense of confidence and grace. Her once reckless spirit now tempered by wisdom.
Quietly, yet firmly, she speaks her truth without doubt or hesitation and the life she leads is of her own creation.”
--Excerpt from ‘The Empowered Woman’ by Sonny Carroll

In my mind, Sonny Carroll’s poem perfectly represents what an empowered woman should be; firm, determined and able to stand on her own feet. The characters of Nora and Antigone, from Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ and Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ respectively, completely fit my description of ‘the empowered woman’. As inspiring figures, they left me wondering how they maintained their identities even in their patriarchal societies. What touched my heart the most is the way they fight for what they feel is moral and just instead of following what society dictates. I believe that each and every woman possesses the qualities like ‘the empowered woman’ in Carroll’s poem. Through my essay, I’d like to show how females in both the plays, during the adversities and extremities of time, evolve into empowered women. I believe that the idea of female empowerment, through these characters, inspires fellow women to make names for themselves rather than being labeled or controlled by men.

Over the centuries, writers have used literature to show the societal status and the mind sets of the people in their era. ‘Antigone’, a Greek tragedy, and ‘A Doll’s House’, a highly controversial drama, inhibit the same thematic approach, depicting the oppression and submissiveness of women in male-dominated society and how they overcome their obstacles with firm will, inspiring millions of audiences from then till now. By Antigone’s character, Sophocles portrays a figure through whom he can express his faith in feminism in the 4th century. Likewise, Ibsen’s concerns about the position of women during the 19th century are beautifully breathed to life in ‘A Doll’s House’ through Nora’s transformation from a doll-like puppet to a human. Both of the writers implement an insightful perspective on the world of women by showing their characters’ individual determined struggles to stand up for what they believe is legitimate and how they achieve a sense-of-self while fighting social and personal oppression.

For a large part of Ibsen’s play, Nora appears to be ‘owned’ by the male characters. Nora to her husband, Torvald –
“When I was at home with papa, he told me his opinion about everything, and so I had the same opinions; and if I differed from him I concealed the fact, because he would not have liked it. He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you – I mean that I was simply transferred from papa’s hands into yours”
This quote clearly shows how Nora does not have her own identity and plays the role of the submissive wife to the overbearing husband. This is further...

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