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Relationship Analysis In Henrik Ibsen´S A Doll´S House And The Tv Program "The Sopranos"

2029 words - 9 pages

And here Pygmalion, old sculptor of heathen times now passed, flames of frosted fires that cast the black light upon the shadows of a starless night. For in his scalding pit where once was heart, burns the curded kindling of perverse pleasures and impious passions. He toils at his foul forge, and there in the blistering bowels of Earth's volcanic throats, in the snarling jaws of his flaming furnace, there stands the lustful sculptor Pygmalion's greatest labour: there stands a woman. Though a sculpture, she effortlessly bleeds sensuality in every carved tendon, the polished pinnacle of a chiseled beauty. She poses with her fixed yearning gaze, her unmoving sinuous locks of hair and inert ...view middle of the document...

Art's begrudgingly sober examination of love has continued onward into the early twenty first century through the American television drama The Sopranos. The show charts the collapse of the fragile marriage of a domineering Italian-American mobster, Tony Soprano, to his submissive yet disillusioned wife Carmella. Indeed, both A Doll's House and The Sopranos, through their characters Nora and Torvald and Tony and Carmella, demonstrate the failure of relationships that are structured around a imbalance of power between a powerful, domineering husband and his powerless, subservient wife.
Though aged over a century, A Doll's House has dutifully refused to surrender its author's potent message: love will not succeed if it is based on an unjust balance of power between a man and a woman, as displayed through the spectacular implosion of Nora and Torvald's marriage. This may be observed through three particularly noteworthy aspects of their failed relationship. Firstly, their marriage did not succeed due to Nora's near complete material dependence on Torvald. Torvald was almost exclusively responsible for providing the income for their family. As Torvald himself astutely states to Nora "… you [Nora] don't understand how to act on your own responsibility…I will advise you and direct you." (Ibsen, p.106). Torvald's observation insightfully reveals the great extent to which Nora depends on her husband and signifies an unbalanced relationship through Torvald's exclusive powers and responsibilities. This imbalanced structure of power contributed to the fall of their marriage as it fostered a loveless partnership held together not by affection, but by Nora's complete dependence on Torvald as a source of direction and, most importantly, as a source of wealth; Nora needed to stay with Torvald to support herself. In more equitable relationships, where both partners may provide for themselves independently, the need to stay together for monetary reasons is less significant and thus causes love, not material wealth, to be the more significant binding force of the relationship. The second major feature that contributed to the destructive detonation of Nora and Torvald's marriage was the absolute lack of trust between them. Nora frequently kept secrets from Torvald, including withdrawing a loan without Torvald's knowledge which would eventually spark the tumult of their fragilely stitched matrimony; when Torvald discovered Nora's covert loan, a sizzling quarrel ensued and cumulated to a dazzlingly display of raw emotions unbounded with Nora's fateful decision to leave Torvald. The hissing secret of the loan was solemnly acknowledged by Mrs. Linde as she tellingly forewarned "This unhappy secret must be disclosed; they must have a complete understanding between them, which is impossible with all this concealment and falsehood going on."( Ibsen, p.97) Mrs. Linde realized that with such concealment in their relationship, a healthy marriage would never blossom. The...

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