Character Comparison of 'Antigone' from Antigone and 'Nora' from A Doll's House

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Character Comparison of 'Antigone' from Antigone and 'Nora' from A Doll's House.

My essay is about the two major female characters from 'Antigone' and 'A Doll's House'. I will compare and discuss the similarities of the two characters.

'A Doll's House is a Norwegian play set in 1877 which is written by Henrik Ibsen. 'Antigone' is a Greek play written by Sophocles in 441 B.C. Both plays are very similar in concept and style in the sense that there are a small number of characters and there is only one scene i.e. the living room in 'A Doll's House' and the palace in 'Antigone'. It is only in 'Antigone' where the scene changes at the end of the play.

Another important thing to note about the play is how the story is told to the audience. In 'Antigone' the tragedy is known to the audience in the beginning of the play, but the suspense of the play is brought by the revelation of events that lead to the death of Antigone. In 'A Doll's House' the story is carefully explored giving us reasons for Nora's action. We are only told towards the end of the play the real tragedy of Nora's actions.

The purpose of my essay is to compare and discuss the similarities of the two main female characters in 'Antigone' and 'A Doll's House'. I will discuss Nora's character first.

The play is set in the 1800s in Norway. Nora is a typical woman living in a male dominated society where the rights of the women were not greatly understood. The purpose of women then was to look the home, family and keep their husband happy. Nora seems to be living up to those expectations of society of that time. She and her family seem to be happy. Her marriage seemed to be successful on a superficial level. However, Nora eventually defines herself as the doll, child and wife. A doll's house can be perfect or it can be shattered.

Nora likes to be treated like a child by her husband, Torvald, and enjoys the nicknames that he gives to her like "skylark," "squirrel," and "squanderbird". His manner is both kind and superior. He does not view her as an equal. He embraces the belief that a man's role in a marriage is to protect and guide his wife. And by him calling his why such nicknames he makes Nora feel completely dependent on him. Nora demonstrates her childish behaviour in acts such as hiding the fact that she has eaten macaroons from Torvald, as he fears that she may ruin her teeth by eating anything sweet. Like a child, when Nora learns of Torvald's new job that would bring more money into the house she pretends to be excited by this news as she knows that she can spend more in the home to make it look pretty for her husband, but she can also use the extra money to payback the loan. Mrs. Linde, a friend of Nora's and whose character is quite opposite to her, criticizes her of her habits as she believes that Nora does not know of any hardship like she has. But when Nora confides in Mrs. Linde telling her that she has been working secretly to pay off a loan that she has taken out without her husband's knowledge to save his life shows that she is smart and defiant. Nora understands her childish behaviour because she knows that there will be a day that Torvald would not be interested in her, and she only behaves in such a way to keep him entertained and interested in him. It is only because of the constant reappearance of the loan that actually allows Nora's character to transform as the play progresses.
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Nora reveals that she is not just a 'silly girl' as Torvlad calls her. She clearly understands the consequences of the loan that she has taken out and if her husband is told about the loan it could even put his reputation at risk in society. There is nothing in the play that indicates that Nora is a bad person, as the loan she has taken out was out of love to save Torvald's life and for no other selfish reason. All she wants is happiness for all those around her, and it is because of this loan ...

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