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Empowering the Unempowered: Character Analysis
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Empowering the Underpowered: Social Commentary in Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard and Ibsen's "A Dolls House"
Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House," a controversial, Norwegian play focusing on a couple's marriage has quite remarkable similarities and differences with Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," a captivating, Russian play about an aristocratic family and their inability to face change. While the first set the foundation for modern realism in drama, the second, 20 years later, presented a unique union of naturalism and symbolism. Ambiguity has always lain around the genre of both plays though, because of the various emotions evoked in the audience throughout the two plays. Another striking similarity in the two plays lies in their disordered portrayal of the social power structures. In a society highly critical of women, Ibsen significantly empowered the central female character, Nora, while Chekhov, from a society highly critical of the serfs, significantly empowered the peasant character of Lopakhin. Close scrutiny and careful analysis of the two plays reveals Ibsen and Chekhov's characterizations of Nora and Lopakhin, respectively to be social commentaries designed to provoke through contradictions of social structures.
Essentially, it is by developing Nora and Lopakhin's characters realistically, by giving
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