Unfair Treatment Of Women In Antigone And A Doll’s House

1668 words - 7 pages

From the times of Ancient Greece, women have been questioning their unequal role in society. According to an unknown source “Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge.” Unfortunately, this unfair treatment of women still exists today. In the business world, men continue to make 20% more money on average than a woman in the exact same position. But this unfair treatment goes beyond just the workforce as displayed in the plays Antigone by Sophocles and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Antigone is a Greek tragedy written before or in 442 BC. It is the third of the three Theban plays by Sophocles. Antigone tells the tale of a young adult woman, Antigone, who must choose between following the laws of the state or the laws of the gods. A Doll’s House takes place in the late 1800s in Norway and depicts the life of a young married couple and what happens when a woman, Nora, chooses to take destiny into her own hands. Although the two plays were written almost 2000 years apart, they both demonstrate a feminist style that was unheard of at the time. The roles between male and female characters within the play show how society treated each gender. Both plays also include significant male characters that show shocking similarities as they dramatically influence the plot of the plays. Creon, the king in Antigone, and Torvald Helmer, Nora’s husband in A Doll’s House are extremely similar in their attitudes and thoughts toward women, sense of duty, and prideful nature.

Throughout both plays, Creon and Torvald Helmer express their stereotypical opinions about women. They perceive women as defenseless creatures who have no power within society. In Antigone, Creon expresses his opinion about women: “I just saw her inside: hysterical, gone to pieces” (Sophocles, 31). This shows that Creon feels that Antigone is frantic and hysterical when in reality, she is actually calm and “put together.” Creon most likely says this because he expects women to be this way and feels they are incapable of being reasonable. This irrational thought about Antigone also displays arrogance in Creon. While Creon feels women are incapable of controlling themselves, A Doll’s House also shows that women are incapable of obtaining real jobs as shown by Nora: “Yet it was splendid to work in that way and earn money. I almost felt as if I was a man” (Ibsen, 152). Nora’s feelings about work were extremely typical for the time period the play was written in. This attitude shows that men provide money for the family and women do not work. If women worked, they only completed small jobs such as knitting or sewing. Nora also explains that she enjoys feeling useful and likes earning money for herself. This attitude is not typical for the time period; Helmer expects Nora to be completely helpless and cannot grasp the fact that she is actually tough enough to handle the world. Although women in the 1800s (A Doll’s House) were not...

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