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Two Men Destroyed by a Secret: A Comparative Study of Oedipus the King and A Dolls House

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Two Men Destroyed by a Secret: A Comparative Study of Oedipus the King and A Dolls House Adam Blake D0555006 World Literature Assignment 1 Word Count 1143 The characters of Oedipus from Sophocles' Oedipus the King, and Torvald from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, while coming from two different periods in time, are in some ways very similar. Torvald and Oedipus share many qualities, such as arrogance and a fiery temper. Their lives also mirror each other in many ways. They were both prestigious well-off men with powerful positions, happy families, and everything to lose. Both men were destroyed by the revelation of a secret, which had been kept from them by their wives. Oedipus and Torvald both seem to be created by the author to have their lives shattered by a secret, and this premeditation by the author is the cause for the similarities between both the personalities and biographies of the two characters. Torvald and Oedipus share a great number of traits and flaws giving them similar personalities. Oedipus and Torvald are both arrogant stubborn men who are quick to anger and are often too curious for their own good. ...read more.


Torvald also is at times very stubborn. Torvald comments several times that Nora is "incredibly stubborn," (Ibsen, pg 61) but it is Torvald that prevails in the battle of will that occurred over Krogstad's dismissal. In this argument Torvald shows his resolve by resisting the charms of Nora, leads to the revelation of Nora's secret, which shatters their marriage. Lastly both men suffer from the flaw of arrogance. Torvald's arrogance is evident in his underestimation of Krogstad, during his argument with Nora over Krogstad's dismissal. His assumption that his reputation was "above suspicion," (Ibsen, pg 62) while ironic, is also very arrogant. He deludes himself with the idea that his career is so perfect that no one could doubt his credibility. His arrogance is also apparent during the final scene when he learns of Krogstad's change of heart. While Torvald is condescending to Nora throughout the play, in this scene that his condensation becomes arrogant misogyny. His implication that Nora is a na�ve child while he is a mature protector is based not on fact but self-delusion. ...read more.


This revelation also led to Jocasta's suicide and the banishment of Oedipus from Thebes. Torvald and Oedipus share a number of similar life experiences. The also play similar roles in their respective plays. Torvald and Oedipus share a number of self-destructive qualities, which contribute and make them more susceptible to their eventual fall. The events experienced by these characters also are remarkably similar. Both texts relate the tale of a powerful man destroyed by a secret. A possible explanation for the similarities between the two characters is their similar role in both plays. The characters share many qualities perhaps because both authors predetermined the fate of these men and molded them to make their downfall realistic and dramatic. The similar experiences could also be attributed to this explanation. They have similar life stories because both authors devised similar roles for the characters in their plays. The authors may have both used these characters to express an archetype of downfall, perhaps attempting to utilize catharsis in their respective works. Oedipus and Torvald analogous experience and comparable personalities may be the result of both Sophocles and Ibsen's attempt to utilize their respective characters to explore similar themes. ...read more.

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