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The position of masculinity and femininity in A Doll's House and Antigone.

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Introduction

World Literature 1: Comparative Study: The position of masculinity and femininity in A Doll's House and Antigone. Issues revolving around the position of masculinity and femininity are prevalent in almost all societies, theatrical or real, and thus it is not surprising to find that the realist work of Ibsen, A Doll's House and the tragic work of Anouilh, Antigone, share these issues. Ibsen's A Doll's House, set in late 19th Century Norway during a time of institutionalisation of marriage, explores the sacrificial role of women through Nora; a young wife, living the existence of a doll for her husband. He also scrutinizes the obligation to the patriarchal society men bear on their shoulders. Anouilh's Antigone, produced in France at a time, of German dictatorial rule in the 1940's, has had critics draw connections between Antigone's "passionate" idealism and the French Resistance, while Creon's "pragmatic" compromises are associated with the Vichy regime. Anouilh uses Antigone as a site to challenge the traditional gender construct through the position of feminist value and masculine integration. ...read more.

Middle

Whereas Nora upholds the typically feminine submissive wife, playing the role "a little squirrel"8 or "sky-lark"9, Kristina brings a mix of adaptability and decisiveness to the text, "[Kristina] Nils...suppose we two shipwrecked people could join forces. [Krogstad] What do you mean? [Kristina] Two on one spar would be better off than each of us alone", perfectly illustrated through Kristina's dealing with Krogstad displaying her ability to manipulate the situation to her benefit. Initially, one is led to believe that Nora is happy with and accepting (or unaware) of her doll-like existence. She responds affectionately to the teasing, coddling and patronization of Torvald, "[Torvald] Yes, that's very true - 'all you can'. But the thing is, you can't! [Nora] (nodding and smiling happily)...10 and speaks excitedly of his new post at the bank and the extra money it will provide. "...Now that you're going to earn a big salary, you'll have lots and lots of money"11 But as the play progresses, Nora reveals her desire for a more fulfilling life, "We've been married for eight years now. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unlike Ibsen, Anouilh was not as widely regarded for his critique of society, yet similarly in Antigone he has displayed the same sacrificial role of women through the Antigone and Eurydice in the taking of their own lives, Antigone for her morals and Eurydice for her son. " When the Queen was told of her son's death...she went up to her room...and there, Creon, she cut her throat."17 One could say that she was obliged to. 1 Androgyny: A concept developed by Sandra Bem, Stanford University Psychologist, referring to the coexistence of masculine and feminine traits in a person, with out a cost to either the persons level of femininity or masculinity. 2 Jean Anouilh, 'Antigone', London, Methuen Publishing, 2000 pp10 3 ibid, pp10 4 ibid, pp18 5 ibid, pp19 6 ibid, pp58 7 ibid, pp49 8 Henrik Ibsen, 'A Doll's House' London, Penguin, 1965, pp148 9 ibid, pp148 10 ibid, pp151 11 ibid, pp148 12 ibid, pp225 13 ibid, pp231 14 Jean Anouilh, 'Antigone', London, Methuen Publishing, 2000, pp69 15 Henrik Ibsen, 'A Doll's House' London, Penguin, 1965, pp230 16 ibid, pp230 17 Jean Anouilh, 'Antigone', London, Methuen Publishing, 2000, pp70 ...read more.

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