Conflict between morals in the two plays Antigone and a Doll's House

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Conflict between morals in the two plays Antigone and a Doll’s House

Ethics are the understanding of what is right or wrong and the morality of a person is seen by whether or not they live by their ethics. The type of conflict and the usage of morality in the two plays are very different. In Antigone Sophocles shows a very clear picture of what is right and wrong; there is somebody who is right and somebody who is wrong. Antigone is right and Creon is wrong. However the idea of right and wrong is not so clear in “A Doll’s House”. In this play Henrick Ibsen leaves it somewhat to the reader to decide what is right and wrong.

In Doll’s House when things are looked at from different perspectives the morals seem to change and also the reader is left to wonder and understand themselves what is morally right and wrong. A good case would be to look at Nora’s situation. In her case she borrows money for her husband’s treatment but is said to be wrong in doing so because women at the time were expected to stay away from money matters. Also Torvald was very against borrowing money. He felt that one should learn to live within their means. Hence she is also wrong in going against her husband’s will and hiding it from him. However the opposite argument to this would be that Nora did it for Torvald’s good health and so is justified in entering money matters. Intertwined with this is also the case of Torvald. He is forced to try and reprimand Nora when he hears that she has borrowed money because if he did not he would feel that he is a hypocrite as he keeps saying that one should live within their means and not borrow money but his own wife is taking loans but when he finds out that people will not find out about this his displeasure and anger with Nora disappears. This shows that unlike Nora Torvald only upholds his ethics for show as he does not want to be thought of as morally depraved. This also indicates that the actual reason for his anger was that his male ego was wounded as he subconsciously felt that people would see him to be incapable of providing for his family since his wife had find a way of borrowing money to save him. Also unlike in Antigone where Sophocles clearly seems to be supporting Antigone, in Doll’s House the reader can’t tell on whose side is Ibsen.

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In Antigone both Creon and Antigone stay true to their ethics. Antigone believes that her brother Polynieces deserves a burial and giving him this burial is her and Ismene responsibility. Creon on the other hand proclaims that since Polynieces waged war against his brother Etoecles who was at the time the ruler of Thebes he is a betrayer and hence does not deserve an honorable burial. However Antigone is the only one who has the courage to go against this decree of his even though everybody feels that Creon is wrong in refusing Polynieces the burial. She continues to defy ...

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