Parallels Between A Doll’s House And The Awakening

1113 words - 4 pages

Throughout history, society often places women inferior to men, causing women to be predisposed to obeying their husband without a second thought. However, when a woman begins to question the idea of loyalty and obedience, her eyes are often opened to the mold that she is encased in and becomes determined to break through and develop her self-potential. In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the main female character is put through a revelation that changes her life forever.
Through their quest to find their own freedom and individuality, Nora Helmer, from A Doll’s House, and Edna Pontellier, from The Awakening, each uniquely discovers themselves. Since the beginning of the play, Nora was very loyal to her husband and even told him how she would “not think of going against your [his] wishes” (Ibsen 6). However, she does not act like an individual because she is controlled by her husband, along with other men, and acknowledges their role as her superiors (Ibsen 20). After Torvald, Nora’s husband, finds out about her secret, she finally understands, that since she was little, her role in society was primarily to be a “doll-child” and a “doll-wife” for the men in her life (Ibsen 87-8). In contrast, Edna got to a point in her life where she just neglected her role established by society because she was tired of being treated as property rather than a person. She spends time without her husband, grows accustomed to the idea of freedom, and discovers her longing for a role as an individual in the world (Chopin 23). Edna tries to escape the obligations that belong to many women of that time like raising the children or waiting for visitors. As Nora is compared to a “doll-wife”, Edna is portrayed as a bird, which needs strong wings to “soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice” (Chopin 123). Each of the female protagonists had her own way of recognizing her undesirable position in her life and developing herself as an individual.
Nora and Edna uncover their secret longing for freedom in marriage, especially one with a man who does not respect them. Nora is treated like a child by Torvald, but she is accustomed to it and believes he loves her dearly. However, an important component of a successful and true marriage is trust, which is lacking in the Helmers’ marriage. Nora keeps a secret from Torvald while he is reluctant to trust her with money, let alone his reputation (Ibsen 2, 3, 13). When Torvald discovers that Nora has kept a secret from him, he is furious and takes away her right to raise the children without a second thought (Ibsen 83). However, while Torvald was throwing a fit, Nora comprehends that he has never loved her and that she was forcing herself to believe she loved him (Ibsen 87). Like Nora, Edna knew that she and her husband, Leonce, never loved each other; she thought he was her ticket out of her old life while he thought of her as his possession (Chopin 8, 29). Both Edna and Nora were...

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