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A comparison of two female heroes: Nora in Ibsens A Dolls House and Antigone in Sophocles Antigone

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Introduction

Anton Malyshev 0889015 A comparison of two female heroes: Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House and Antigone in Sophocles' Antigone The character of Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House and Antigone of Sophocles' Antigone, two women that chose to rebel against society in order to achieve something that they believe strongly in. The different cultures that embrace these two plays, allow for many parallels between the values of both men and women. These two protagonists are definitely similar in some ways, due to the fact that in both situations these is an obvious repression of women and that these women are both striving for something that is against the law. However, there are several key differences between the characters of Nora and Antigone. These differences, although not guarding them from reaching their ultimate goals, do manage to give us a clear distinction between the two protagonists.. Antigone, based in ancient Greece, repeatedly demonstrates examples of the oppression of women. From the first scene, when Antigone is talking to Ismene about her plan to bury Oedipus, the repression of females is evident. Ismene is clearly terrified of defying Creon's laws, which would put ultimate disgrace upon their lives. ...read more.

Middle

Antigone has a strong sense of rebellion from the beginning of the play, whereas Nora expresses some thoughts against the Society, yet she only realizes her repression at the end of the story. Antigone states her rebellious position and questions the state throughout the whole play, not hiding any of her thoughts. Nora on the other hand, is slightly more delicate with the approach. She tries until the last moment to hide the fact that she has forged her husband's signature. She seems to have some kind of doubts about her social status but does not react, as Antigone did, until the end of the play before she leaves the house. When talking to Mrs. Linde, Nora gets upset after she is told that she hasn't accomplished anything important in her life. "My dear! Small household cares and that sort of thing! - You are a child, Nora."(Ibsen, 11) The fact that Nora is disturbed by the thought of being 'useless', shows that she has some sort of will to raise her status in the society. When Mrs. Linde tells her that everything she has done so far are just 'small household cares', Nora wants to be recognized as something more than that. ...read more.

Conclusion

These lines are very tragic; Antigone is being killed and she is naming all of the experiences she has not had, and yet she doesn't regret what she has done, and still keeps her faith. This definitely is a trait of a tragic hero; however, this dignity is also her flaw and is what causes her death. There are definitely some similarities between Nora and Antigone. However, these similarities mostly have to do with the fact that both women are in a society where women are oppressed. The differences in their personalities are very evident, and create a fine line between the two. While Nora is more of a submissive character, at times mocking the society, "What do I care about this tiresome Society?" (Ibsen, 15), Antigone is not the typical quiet housewife. Antigone has a stronger character, one of a true hero. Perhaps it is Antigone's social status that somehow plays in to her being such a powerful character. Being of a royal family, it is understandable that Antigone wants proper respect for her brother no matter how much of an enemy he is to the state. Nora is also somewhat victorious; just like Antigone, she also loses certain aspects of her life, her children and house and husband. However, Nora learns that her main duties are "Duties to myself."(Ibsen, 65) ...read more.

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