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Henrik Ibsen's characters are similar throughout his books. There are pairs of characters with similarities in A Doll's House and Ghosts. One such pair is Nora and Mrs. Alving.

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Introduction

Henrik Ibsen's characters are similar throughout his books. There are pairs of characters with similarities in A Doll's House and Ghosts. One such pair is Nora and Mrs. Alving. Both characters were unhappily married, but had other significant men in their lives. Manders and Dr. Rank both appeared as good friends to the women. This is a similarity, but with the difference that Nora rejected one and Mrs. Alving was rejected by the other. These men helped the women through their problems however and they would do anything for them. "To have loved you as much as any one else does? Was that horrid?" (A Doll's House, Act II, p. 40) Dr. Rank tells Nora. He is expressing that he has loved her the whole time that she thought they were just best friends. Mrs. Alving ran away from her husband in their first year of marriage and went to Manders. ...read more.

Middle

"It was then that Oswald was sent away. He was about seven then, and was beginning to notice things and ask questions as children will... It seemed to me that the child would be poisoned if he breathed the air of this polluted house. That was why I sent him away." (Ghosts, Act I, p. 93) She rationalizes her decision. Mrs. Alving and Nora prove that they love their children through their actions in the plays, which are often similar. As much as Ibsen deliberately made his characters similar, he also made what happens to them different. At the end of A Doll's House, Nora ends being the victor. She leaves her husband because it is what she wants and she knows how to get it. "Oh, Torvald, I don't believe any longer in wonderful things happening... That our life together would be a real wedlock. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I had my little boy, and endured it for his sake... I took the upper hand in the house absolutely - both with him and all the others. I had a weapon to use against him..." (Ghosts, Act I, p. 92-93) Mrs. Alving shows that she took the easy way out. She could have stood up to Mr. Alving and taken her son and left, but instead she chose to go along with it, just standing in his shadow and quietly telling him that she was unhappy. The similarities that come out in the characters of Mrs. Alving and Nora are always mixed in with other situations that make them different. Ibsen wanted to prove to his audience that it wasn't always healthy to be in a marriage and by doing this he went against the norms of society. Neither play has a so-called 'happy ending', because not all the characters have had their issues resolved by the end. The two plays show the different angles that he wanted the audience to be aware of, but their endings repeat a point for clarity. ...read more.

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