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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary both portray significant female characters. Both of these works show women striving for happiness and freedom.

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Introduction

Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary both portray significant female characters. Both of these works show women striving for happiness and freedom. These works reveal the problems some women have in trying to become equal with their male counterpart. Nora's happiness is seen through her time with her children while Emma's happiness is never seen as she experiences stressful relationships. The roles of the women include secrecy, money, children, friendships and love lives. Nora Helmer from A Doll's House and Emma Bovary from Madame Bovary are very secretive with their lives. Nora's secrets range from the hiding of the macaroons (59) to the loan for the sake of Torvald's health (54). This shows perhaps fear Nora may have with her husband. Nora best shows her secrecy with the clothes she wore for the masquerade party. Emma's secretive ways stem from her marriage to Charles. ...read more.

Middle

At the sight of her newborn, Emma faints as wish for a son doesn't come true (101). Emma doesn't really care when she shoves Berthe into a chest of drawers and causes her to cry (124). Berthe Bovary is even thought of as "ugly" by her mother (124). The love Emma shows for her daughter reveals her mendacity, not real affection. Friendship is a theme expressed in both works as well. Nora has a few friends while Emma's actions is a rationale for her not having friends. Nora's friends include Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde. Nora, who contrasts from the two for not having an occupation, is able to sustain a friendship. Emma has her dismissal of women with the reasons coming from the differences she sees. Emma also doesn't have male friends with the fact that neither Leon nor Rodolphe really care about her while she believes they do. ...read more.

Conclusion

The wedding bouquet (53, 83-4) that Emma later destroys shows the disappointment in her marriage. To satisfy her needs, Emma engages in affairs with Leon. After Leon's departure, sorrow turns to happiness with a new affair with Rodolphe. Emma, who couldn't accept Charles and his personality, failed to realize how he really felt about her. Emma's death was an impact on Charles' later demise. Happiness and freedom are the most important themes in both women's lives. Nora's happiness lies within her "miracle" of a better marriage. Nora always seems to be happy when she really is frustrated and unhappy. Emma never experiences happiness as her attempts fail and result in her death. Nora from A Doll's House and Emma from Madame Bovary are very strong female characters portrayed in literature. Striving for happiness and freedom came at a costly price, with death as Emma's fate. The feminine struggle continues with the failed marriages and shows a strong message. The struggle reveals that not being equal can cause damage to the lives of people and their surroundings. ...read more.

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