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Restrictions Placed Upon Women In Antigone And A Doll's House

1230 words - 5 pages

Discrimination against women is still a very real problem around the modern world. A Doll’s House written by Isben, involves a woman by the name of Nora and her family. The play takes place in southern Italy in the 1800s. Antigone is a play written by Sophocles, which takes place within a day in ancient Thebes, Greece. It tells the story of a girl named Antigone and the troubles she faces in an attempt to honor her deceased brother. A Doll’s House and Antigone portray women’s boundaries and what happens to those who dare to step outside of them, even if it is to save one whom they love. Nora and Antigone share rebellious, independent, and deceptive personalities.
Women were subservient and outspoken in previous eras and their societies; however, Antigone and Nora rebelled against stereotypical images of women. Ismene, Antigone’s sister, was against the burial of their brother Polynices. “Remember we are women we’re not born to contend with men. Then too, we’re underlings, ruled by much stronger hands, so we must submit in this, and things still worse (Sophocles, pg 18).” When Antigone tells her sister of her plans to bury Polynices, Ismene attempts to convince her not to. By Antigone burying her brother she would be going against Creon’s word, which would be absurd. Women were not to disobey men, let alone the king of Thebes. In A Doll’s House Nora tells Helmer, her husband, about her father during their last discussion. “He used to call me his doll child, and play with me as I played with my dolls (Isben, 197).” Nora is confronting Helmer about how she is being treated. She compares her life to that of a doll’s. She has been told her entire life what to do, how to feel, and what to think. She is now stepping outside of what she has known her entire life. She has come to the belief that she has never lived, but merely living in the body of a doll. Meanwhile, Antigone refuses to give in to doubts she received on her decision to properly honor her brother. “And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I’ll lie with the one I love and love by him-an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer to please the dead than please the living here (Sophocles, pg 18).” Antigone is rebelling against the laws of the land, in order to please those of the gods. Her conscious tells her that she must give Polynices an honorable burial. In doing so, she will please the gods which her family has a long history with. She believes that in the end breaking the land’s laws are insignificant next to the laws of the gods.
Antigone and Nora show throughout that they are independent women. During the final act Nora and her husband gets into an argument. “It’s no use your forbidding me anything now. I shall take with me what belongs to me. From you I will accept nothing, either now or afterward (Isben, pg 198).” Nora is standing up for herself, which in the 1800s is unheard of. When this play was written, women were to be subservient to...

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