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Henrik Ibsen: Focusing On The Right’s Of Women

1595 words - 7 pages

A man, intoxicated and impoverished, lay on the dirty streets of patriarchal Norway and as the jeering citizens sauntered by, they could have never guessed that this man, Henrik Ibsen, would be the Prometheus of women’s rights and the creator of the modern play. Having been born in 1828, Ibsen lived through various examples of the subjection of women within the law, such as Great Britain allowing men to lock up and beat their wives “in moderation” (Bray 33). Therefore, Ibsen was known for his realistic style of writing within both poetry and plays, which usually dealt with everyday situations and people (31). Focusing on the right’s of women, Ibsen’s trademark was “...looking at these problems without the distortions of romanticism” and often receiving harsh criticism for doing so (31). In an attempt to support his family, Ibsen became a pharmaceutical apprentice, but after three years he abandoned this profession and took up poetry writing. After an apprenticeship in the theater, he began writing his own plays, including a drama in verse, Peer Gynt (31). While working and writing in Norway, Ibsen and several social critics observed “...the penalty society pays when only half of its members participate fully as citizens” and decided to flee Norway in hopes of finding a more accepting social environment (33). Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House, his most famous work about women suffering through the oppressive patriarchal society, while living primarily in Germany and Italy where he “...was exposed to these social norms and tensions to a much greater extent than he would have been had he remained solely in Norway” (32). While Sweden, Norway, and Denmark began to grant legal majority to women, Ibsen understood the legal improvements for women did not assist them with their endeavors as long as men continued with their oppressive arrogance (33). Because England greatly influenced the social norms of Europe, the idea that “...men--in spite of Victoria’s own gender--being held up as the superior being in the household” was still the prevalent attitude towards women (31). Prior to the first production of A Doll’s House in 1879, political action leagues worked to include “...the debate about women’s roles and rights in the mainstream of daily life and [spread] the discussion into novels and plays”, which caused the controversial topic to become a popular central discussion (33). As the years passed after the publication of Ibsen’s play, women slowly gained more freedoms. In 1893 the Married Women's Property Act allowed married women the full legal control of inherited or earned property (34). Concluding, Ibsen returned to Norway to complete his final phase of literature and became known as the father of modern drama after he died in 1906 (32). Following Ibsen’s death in 1920, “[w]omen in the United States [were] granted the right to vote by the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution” and still strive towards complete equality in modern day (34). Although...

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