Ibsen’s drama “A Doll’s House”, serves as an example of the kind of issue-based drama that distinguishes Ibsen from many of his contemporaries. The play’s dialogue is not poetic, but very naturalistic, and the characters are recognizable people. Given the sense of modernity which the play possesses it seems unusual to compare it to a Greek tragedy produced more than two-thousand years previously.
On closer examination however, there are certain similarities between the way in which “A Doll’s House” is plotted and a tragedy such as Oedipus Rex. Both “Oedipus” and “A Dolls’ House” depict disastrous events that occur to two very different characters. At the start of Oedipus, we encounter a hero who is almost universally adored. Oedipus is a popular king who by the end of the play will be reduced to the lowest level possible. Classically the tragic hero began a piece as a man of high position since this made his demise all the more tragic. That the tragic centre if Ibsen’s play is both female and not particularly birth is a distinct departure from the classical condition of tragedy. Ibsen has moved many concepts of the genre and placed them in a domestic setting. In order to see the way Nora can be viewed as a true tragic heroine it is useful to examine some of the concepts which Greek tragedy frequently made use of.
In both plays the trouble that befalls the lead characters are due to their own actions Oedipus commits a series of huge mistakes the significance of which are not really understood until it is too late. In “A Doll’s House”, Nora borrows a sum of money, an action that will tear her family apart. The idea that the tragedy of a play begins with a hug…
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O’Brien, Michael J. Introduction. In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O’Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Segal, Charles. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.
Available http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/browse-mixed new?tag=public
Canterbury Tales Essay – Marriage and the Role of Women in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue
Marriage and the Role of Women in the Wife of Bath’s Prologue
The Canterbury Tales, begun in 1387 by Geoffrey Chaucer, are written in heroic couplets iambic pentameters, and consist of a series of twenty-four linked tales told by a group of superbly characterized pilgrims ranging from Knight to Plowman. The characters meet at an Inn, in London, before journeying to the shrine of St Thomas a Becket at Canterbury. The Wife of Bath is one of these characters. She bases both her tale and her prologue on marriage and brings humor and intrigue to the tales, as she is lively and very often crudely spoken. Her role as a dominant female contrasts greatly with the others in the tales, like the prim and proper Prioress represents the argument for virginity, whereas the Wife upholds the state of marriage.
Women were very much perceived as second-class citizens in the Fourteenth Century, they were rarely educated and had little status in society. In contrast, the two female characters in the book are from areas of society where it was possible for women to have influence probably as these characters would hold more interest for his readership. The prioress was undoubtedly the most powerful person in the nunnery and the Wife’s position as a weaver would gain her respect and power although it is implied that she achieves this through other means. Through the Wife Chaucer shows how women achieved authority through marriage, using humor typical of modern mother-in-law comedy. His tongue in cheek approach shows how the Wife controls her husbands, by terrorizing them so that each were “ful glad” when she “spake to hem faire”. The reason for the Wife’s cruel treatment after marriage was that she no longer needed “to winne hir love, or do…
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…ant in the modern day church.
The aspects of marriage portrayed in the Wife of Bath’s prologue feature heavily around sexual pleasure and wealth. Her description shows the struggle for power causes conflict, occasional violence and abuse; all the while she is justifying her lifestyle and fighting for female equality. Despite no fidelity, love, or trust as deceit and affairs that seem to be commonplace the Wife of Bath ‘s description of married life is very much a comical one, which she does seem to enjoy especially if she achieves fulfillment. Altogether Chaucer’s portrait of 14th Century married life is at best a humorous battleground for independence, wealth and pleasures of the flesh.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. The Norton Anthology: English Literature. Sixth Edition, vol. 1. Ed. Abrams, M.H. Norton