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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.

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Introduction

Over time in countries like Canada women have fought for their own rights to gain an equal position in a traditional male-dominating society. As a result, the role of males and females has gradually become more equal. Female characters from older pieces of literature such as Medea in Euripides' play, The Medea, and Nora and Mrs. Linde of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, can be said not only to define the traditional role of women but to show modern readers how much freedom women have gained in some societies since the plays were written as well. The Greeks and the Norwegians were traditional thinking at the time these plays were written - women simply did not have the choice to decide how their lives should be led. The people in these societies thought women could not act as independently as men could. In truth, women are very much capable of doing the same tasks just as well as men if they are given the encouragement. Unfortunately, Medea, Nora, and Mrs. Linde are made to behave like helpless beings. They do not even realise what they are really capable of doing until some dramatic events force them to act independently. Through these characters one can see that what were often thought of as male characteristics, such as the ability to defend, common sense, and pride, are traits that women already possess. ...read more.

Middle

Medea takes a defensive position when Creon issues her exile. At first, she does not know where to go or who will care for her children. Gradually, she realises what she must do to physically and emotionally protect herself: she must flee Corinth and find allies. Medea secures her pride and hurts Jason by poisoning the royal princess. She is not satisfied; therefore, Medea kills her children to diminish Jason's happiness and spare them of suffering should revenging troops catch them. Similarly, Torvald's sickness leads Nora to take charge of the situation. She understands the importance for Torvald to rest in a suitable place and scrambles to find the money needed. She is so desperate that she forges her father's signature on a loan agreement to obtain the money. Her efforts in saving Torvald are commendable because they show her courage and her selflessness. Nora could have easily chosen not to take risks and let Torvald die. Mrs. Linde also defends and cares for her family when they are in financial trouble. She not only sacrifices her relationship with Kronstad to marry a man she does not love but also works hard at any job she can find to support her family after her husband's death. The female characters of these two plays are very competent in caring for their families in times of crisis and are clearly very willing to sacrifice their own freedom and happiness to achieve these ends. ...read more.

Conclusion

She feels proud that she has gained her revenge and Jason is ruined at last. Likewise, Nora beams with pride as she describes to Mrs. Linde how she managed financially to pay off her debts and contributes to assisting her husband. Mrs. Linde has "every right to be [proud]" (p.159) that she is "[making her] Mother's last days a little easier" (p.159) and raising her brothers even if she has worked so very hard to achieve this end. Her choice of not remarrying someone rich shows that she is content with working independently to support her family. When the women in these plays initiate the tasks to help their families they are doing it through instinct and are not motivated by any other incentives. Their rewards are more valuable than money for they are able to obtain pride and the sense of accomplishment. The courageous acts that Medea, Nora, and Mrs. Linde have done to help others are triggered by dramatic events that are extremely realistic. The abandoning of a wife or family financial crisis could happen to women around the world as well as those in the play. There is certainly more assistance available for modern women in places like Canada in times of crisis, but that does not mean women are becoming more dependent. What were thought of as male characteristics in the plays are simply human characteristics and have simply been well adapted by modern women and by the female characters mentioned. Their accomplishments are admirable and demonstrate women's vast ability to adapt to change. ...read more.

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