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'one Is Not Born A Woman, But Becomes One' (Simone De Beauvoir). To What Extent Do Men And Women In Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ And ‘The Murder In Th

1403 words - 6 pages

For one to conform to Victorian society’s ingrained gender stereotypes is the ideology that one should behave in certain ways which are deemed as being socially ‘acceptable’ by Victorian society. The exploration in this essay is whether society shapes the individual in a ‘Doll’s House’ and ‘The Murder in the Red Barn’. The men and women in a ‘Doll’s House’ and ‘The Murder in the Red Barn’ are either shown to be conforming to Victorian gender stereotypes or are presented as being unconventional.
Both plays at first give the audience the impression that Nora and Maria both conform to Victorian society’s ingrained gender stereotypes. In Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’, Nora appears to be ...view middle of the document...

The flirtatious nature of Maria in ‘The Murder in the Red Barn’ and Nora in ‘A Doll’s House’ is similar although there are different purposes. Nora’s purpose in ‘A Doll’s House’ is to manipulate Helmer or even to try and influence his decision whereas in ‘The Murder in the Red Barn’, Maria is simply naïve. Both Nora and Maria show that they are conforming to gender stereotypes as they are feminine and childlike.
As Maria Marten progresses, it is evident that Corder is comparable to Helmer in 'A Doll's House' in that they are both genuinely dominant in their relationships and appear to be conforming to Victorian society's ingrained gender stereotypes. In 'A Doll's House' this is demonstrated by the fact that Nora is undoubtedly secretive about the macaroons she consumes as she ‘wipes her mouth’ and ‘pops the bag of macaroons in her pocket’. In addition, Helmer uses pet names to address Nora such as 'squander bird' and 'skylark' and emphasises that Nora is his possession with the possessive pronoun 'my'. In this way Helmer dehumanises Nora as it is almost like she is a materialistic possession and an object. This is further demonstrated by Nora’s tarantella in which On the other hand, Corder in the melodrama is dominant in a sense that Maria allows him to see her 'safely home'. Maria being innocent and helpless and one is unaware of the consequences agrees to Corder which substantiates that both Maria and Corder are shown to be conforming to Victorian society's ingrained gender stereotypes as Corder is the more intellectual, superior individual whereas Maria is shown to have a lack of awareness therefore making her inferior and weak. Corder's dominance is further confirmed when he seduces Maria causing her to become 'Corder's victim'.

The comparison between Corder in 'The Murder in the Red Barn' and Helmer in 'A Doll's House' is displayed further for instance both characters believe that they have 'manhood'. In 'A Doll's House' Helmer is quite ironic because he is weak and insecure for example when he is ‘controlling his emotions with difficulty’ when Nora tells him she doesn’t love him ‘any longer’ he and likewise in 'The Murder in the Red Barn' Corder is claims he has 'too much manhood' and will not see 'a poor girl go unprotected'. In addition, this is also ironic as Corder uses Maria's situation to seduce her.
The playwrights are both contrasting in the fact that Nora carries the burden and suffer which suggests that challenges gender stereotypes. In 'A Doll's House', Helmer believes he is carrying 'the whole burden' and ironically it is Nora herself who has always carried the burden. By Nora carrying the burden, she has dominated her husband. Furthermore, the irony in Helmer's speech is that he would not live up to what he says as he is insecure and weak for example In contrast to this, in 'The Murder in the Red Barn’ , Corder dominates over Maria and this is shown when Maria shows...

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