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An analysis of the willingness to ignore the truthby the main characters in Oedipus and a dolls house.

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Introduction

An analysis of the willingness to ignore the truth by the main characters in Oedipus and a dolls house. References to eyesight and vision, both literal and metaphorical, are very frequent in Oedipus. Ancient Greeks cared deeply about the pursuit of knowledge. Although the truth was often a terrifying concept, they still saw it as a critical virtue. The theater was one way in which the ideas of knowledge and truth were examined 1. In a dolls house the sight and/ or blindness of the characters is also mixed with a willingness to ignore the truth, and in both plays the characters are made to pay the consequences for their ignorance. The deception of initial appearances of the characters in both plays also plays a pivotal part in the telling of the stories, but ignoring the true characteristics of the people around them leads to difficult decisions having to be made by the characters in both plays. In Oedipus clear vision is used as a metaphor for knowledge of the truth. When Sophocles refers to eyesight and insight in Oedipus it makes a meaningful pattern in together with the references to literal and metaphorical blindness to the truth. Oedipus is famed for his clear-sightedness and quick comprehension, but he discovers that he has been blind to the truth for many years, and then he blinds himself so he does not have to loot at his own children/siblings. ...read more.

Middle

Over the course of A Doll's House, appearances prove to be misleading. Our first impressions of Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad are all eventually undercut and the readiness to ignore the true character of the other characters is astonishing. When one hears the word doll one is reminded of a figure that is pretty and perfect, She is manmade, an object that is false, and naturally does not talk back. Nora seemingly fits this description beautifully until one looks closer at her character throughout the play. By the end of the play we discover a human being with few of the qualities connected with a porcelain toy. Nora wears a mask in front of others to give the perception of being vapid. From the beginning of the play, Nora plays up to the stereotypical image of the perfect wife. Happy buying gifts for Christmas and shrieking, 'money!' when her husband so generously gives her some extra money for the housekeeping. However, we see some of her true rebellious attitude with her favorite treat, macaroons. Her husband Torvald detects guilt in his wife's eyes and asks her if she has been eating the forbidden macaroons and she replies, 'I would never dream of doing something you did not want me to', which is an outright lie, yet Torvald excepts this without question because he could not bear the thought of his wife lying to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tells her that she is, 'just like your father. Always on the lookout for money...just seems to slip through your fingers'. This shows that he didn't think much of Nora's father and does not think much of her common sense, but he would not want his, 'little songbird to be the least bit different', because he likes to feel superior. He fires an old school friend, Nils, because he calls him by his first name at work. He tells Nora he loves her, and then he is so quick to let her go at the slightest sign of imperfection. Torvald is constantly ignoring the truth and hiding behind society and at the end of the play he pays the price and loses his wife. The instability of appearances within the Torvald household at the play's end results from Torvald's devotion to image at the expense of true happiness. He fails to really see the people around him and because Torvald needs respect from his employees, friends, and wife, status and image are important to him. By the end of the play, we see that Torvald's his repeated suppression and denial of reality have harmed his family and his happiness forever. Oedipus is not quick to blame himself for the plague of the city. He tries to place the burden onto others as he continues his investigation, blindly trusting his own superior ability while ignoring the damaging evidence that surrounds him3. ...read more.

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