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The use of symbolism to convey protagonists confinement in a Doll's House and Death and the Maiden
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The use of symbolism to convey protagonists ‘confinement in a Doll's House and Death and the Maiden
It is evident that both, Ariel Dorfman and Henrik Ibsen, present different situations which demonstrate a clear confinement among the main protagonists. This confinement is clearly illustrated through a use of different symbolisms. This helps Argueta and Ibsen to pinpoint and emphasize an imprisonment, in which some characters have been locked up to in a Doll’s House and Death and the Maiden. It is because of this same reason why symbolism takes up an important role inside the different plays, because it is these different symbolisms which help the reader to clearly find the acts of confinement which end up as being an important theme. This demonstrates how some protagonist end up being dominated and imprisoned by other characters as well as other factors which take on the two different novels.
One clear and important symbol inside A Doll’s House is the black hat and black cross which are used by the author to symbolize: DEATH. As mentioned before it is crucial for the fact that it illustrates the overall confinement among the different women protagonist such as Mrs Linde and Nora who is a dynamic character which at first seems to be a child-like woman; however she is then able to fight against the OPPRESSION situation in which she is confined by her husband, Torvald. As a result of this that the symbols of black cross and black hat symbolize an oppression in which woman protagonist are being sank on, as they need to swim against the male power.
As mentioned before, the own title of the play is another important symbol in terms of protagonist confinement because it illustrates once again the situation in which Nora lives, a situation in which it is clearly being control by her own husband who treats her like a child by persuading her with money. “Come, come my little skylark must not drop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper?” (Act I, pg. 3) Ibsen is showing us how Nora is his mascot as he treats her like a little child with the use of animal characteristics. More importantly Ibsen emphasizes by using the word “wings” in order to illustrate the lack of freedom that Nora has as she is confined by her husband who has her oppressed. It is here where two different symbols: money and a dolls house join together to emphasize how it is money itself who buys Nora’s life as she is driven by her husband who confines her as a helpless and innocent doll. It is a symbol which can also be considered contradictory because at the end we can see how her child-like behaviour disappears as she discovers the fact that she is not as happy or innocent as she appears which helps her to free herself from the confinement of the oppressive situation in which she was locked up by the male protagonist. More over it is the doll symbol which is also crucial when it comes to the protagonist confinement because it illustrates the difficulty to maintain an individual personality because Nora finds herself struggling to become an independent and self-motivated protagonist in a world which is dominated by the male protagonist which creates this constant confinement among the females and males inside the story.
On the other hand, Ariel Dorfman present to us a different situation in which it is the woman who takes over the male characteristics presented in Death and the Maiden. One very important symbol is the famous quartet by Schubert from which the novel is named after. This symbol is important because it illustrates the confinement created upon Paulina who loved the piece of music but then hated because it was the same piece of music which was played during her rape and torture sessions. This symbol is important as mentioned before because it does not only illustrate a confinement in which Paulina unconsciously reminds her horrible past in which confines her present which is willing to repair and take revenge in response to what that was done to her. As a result of this same symbol it is also why the female takes power and domination of the male characters and confronts and confines them because of the revenge that she is willing to take in response, which inverts the sexual characteristics and situations inside of the play.
The gun is another important symbol in Death and the Maiden because it symbolizes fear of confinement from Paulina towards the male protagonist. This is important because once again the author emphasizes the violence among the different protagonist in the play because of the past in which Paulina was raped. In addition to this we can see how it is the woman and not the male protagonist who has now taken control over her imprisonment as she has now left her past and she is in search of revenge of what was done to her in order to repair her present from her horrible past. “She shows him the gun and points it playfully in his direction” (Sc. 4 Act I) This is important as the Dorfman is trying to show us the feminine power in the play, more over Dorfman is trying to illustrate the fact that the roles (male and female) have been turned around, showing clearly the confinement of the male protagonist by the oppression the female character is creating upon him as an act of revenge. In addition to this, Dorfman is also trying to convey a real life problem which is revenge, as people usually try to take revenge when they are hurt or betrayed. Playfully is also an important word in this statement because Dorfman is trying to show how revenge and violence is something normal as it can be even be seen as a game.
On the other hand we also need to emphasize on another symbol in “A doll’s house” which is the “marital relationships” which also end up being an important one. This symbol is important as it is a symbol which is full of confinement between the male and female protagonist of the novel. In the first place we can see how it is the female protagonist, Nora the one who is control by her husband however this then turns around as it is Nora the one that finds out after a series of different events that she is no longer happy and needs to find how to separate from her husband and leave him as she can no longer live with a husband who is incapable to offer her the so call wonderful thing. As a result of this symbol of “marital relationship’ we can also see how Nora is able to develop a self-awareness which clearly develops a confinement as she needs to fight her husband who no longer satisfy her because her marriage is based on deception. In contrast to this we can also see how the “marital relationships” as a symbol also illustrate the ability for Chritine to solve her problems with Krogstad and avoid the confinements and problems which Nora finds in her own relationship which illustrate the unstable and untruthful relationship which Nora and Torvald have which creates an imprisonment and constant confinement.
In conclusion we can see how the uses of symbolism in both plays are crucial for the fact that they help the authors to illustrate the protagonist confinement. In the first place we can see how both plays deals with social issues; In a Dolls House we can see how it is the males who dominate and confine the female protagonist because they are oppressed and treated like a doll as they don’t have the freedom neither the power to confront the confinement presented to them. On the other hand Death and the Maiden through the use of symbolism the author is able to illustrate the dictatorship and corruption which was taking place in Chile and South America during that time inside the government and politics. This social issue is illustrated by how the women try to confront the man in order to confront the corruption which fights against the confinement that is presented against them through the symbols of rape and violence. More over these symbols are of great importance because they pinpoint the fact that I can see how the different protagonist in both novels live in a constant confinement in which it is the female protagonist the ones that have to fight against their own will in order to overcome the oppression created by the male protagonist which illustrate the lack of freedom as a typical characteristic during the time of those societies. In addition I can see how this confinement has slowly started to fade away in our present societies as women no longer need to live under the dictatorship of men as they have the same rights and freedom.
The use of Guns in death and the maiden and One day of life to portray the protagonists struggle for power.
In Death and the Maiden and One day of Life we can see that the authors implement the use of guns to give more power to a protagonist among the others. The idea of the guns we can depict that it’s used to symbolize the authority that these characters have and depending on the author’s ideas is if they use the power they have in a good way or in a controlling way.
In Death and the Maiden we can depict that the character that is shown with guns and that is in control is the one that has the power or that wishes to have power and it conceives it when she is in control of a gun. In this case the Character is Paulina, we can depict from the beginning that she has a strong character which could be confused from the start of she being the man of her marriage with Gerardo. Paulina controls and also humiliates Gerardo many times as Gerardo seems to be non capable of fighting her or even having the courage of telling her something, even less when Paulina is in control of a gun. We can depict that when Paulina has a gun she fills that she is in control of the situation even more she shows that she has more power than the other characters. (Act 1, Scene: 4 “Paulina: Ill put a bullet straight into this mans head”). Form this quotation e can see that Paulina will not hesitate on using the gun as she knows under the circumstances that she is under that has the man that raped her and she has the possibility to take vengeance now. Here we can see that what Paulina is enjoying is that now she has the power not Dr. Miranda any more.
From One Day of Life we can depict that from the beginning of the novel there is the use of guns as its set out in a time of war in El Salvador. By investigating a time of war generally we can say that the military will be the one that will be in control of everything in this case the (The authorities, 9.30 A.M “Guard”) that is a special elite force of the military of El Salvador. We can see how the other character such as Maria romelia which is shown as a victim of an excess of power or the abuse of authority by the guard gives them the authority to do anything. On this chapter they show us a slaughter of people in a bus and the author portrays the excess use of guns such as, (The authorities, 9.30 A.M “automatics”, “machine gun”). This shows us that people feared the Guard not only because of their power or their authority but the fear came from having the possibility that they could shoot you just because you seemed suspicious.
From the historical context we can depict what Chile was under the oppression and the dictatorship of Pinochet. This has relation with the book as the play is set up in that time and from the start we can see that Paulina all she wanted was that the government took seriously cases of rape. This is what lead Paulina is the controlling and oppressed woman that she is. From the cover of the book we can see that Paulina is always with a gun and looking at her image on top of Gerardo we can also say that she is in control of him. When Dr. Miranda arrived at the house, Paulina without asking question she got the man and started to threat him and to bit him up. We can see Dr. Miranda’s impotence due to Paulina having a gun. By this we can say that generally what guns transmits is fear towards the other characters and by this way it gives power and authority to the one holding it.
We can compare the act of Paulina acting before being sure about what she is doing with the act that happened with one day of life, what the people say about the “guard”. “For as long as I can remember, the authorities have been this way; they shoot first and ask questions later”. From this quotation both share the struggle for power and the same ideas from the authors. This shows us that the characters do what ever they want as they have the power either given to them by the state (military) or by their own by holding a gun.
In One Day of Life we can see even a more abuse of the power that has been given to them. The “guard” is shown as assassins as they have guns and they can do what ever they want as their judgment acts as the law. Maria romelia is used to looking at the acts of the “guard”, violent acts such as the acts of “justino”, (in the chapter Maria Romelia, 10 A.M “he had more than seven bullets on him”). From this acts we can see how Argueta and Dorfman portray the excess f power with violent act as the person in control of the situation any problem that arises believes that the way out is using the gun.
We can also say that the fact that they are having a gun makes them a person that maybe their not, as not just makes them commit acts but also changes their behavior and also their language making the reader believe that they are bad persons ignoring the fact about why their doing this. (The authorities, 9.30 A.M “Look moterfuckers”), by this way we can see that the Director of the army in one day of life due to his high authority and his power he becomes a person the one he thinks he is tough talking like that. The same way we can see how Paulina acts the same talking in a bulgur language, (act 2, scene 1 “the bitch came out”.). The same power given to them in this case the guns gives them the strength and makes them talk or act like this.
From Death and the Maiden we can see how the characters when they are not In power they’re are completely different they don’t have the same authority. Dr. Miranda the which when he was raping Paulina he was in control due to the men that were with him that had automatic weapons and were guarding her. By this way we can see that Dr. Miranda was in power; Later on we see that Paulina catches Dr. Miranda unarmed and with no one to protect him and she talks advantage as she now was the one that was armed and abuses of him even taught or raping him with a “broomstick” for revenge.
Later on the other characters start to become oppressed by the same power that was being transmitted. In one day of life we can see that the people think that the guard acts due to their (In the chapter 10A.M “uniform they think they’re kings of the world, and they say they’re disposed to anything”), by this we can see that the simple fact of holding a gun not necessarily using it but having it gives the person full freedom to do what ever they want no matter what the other people or also what they think of themselves.
To conclude we can say that independently the guns give the characters the power so that by this they are able to control other and to transmit or gain authority. In death and the maiden and One day of life both novels link together on the fact that the characters that are armed are the ones that have the power and also we can see that other characters wish t have this so that they could also experience it.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.
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