Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

The Classic Novel Antigone And Nora English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1700 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

The classic Antigone, by Sophocles, and its contemporary, A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, are both stories of young women whose strong determination and strength become offensive challenges for the opposing male-dominated societies. Both had their own motivation of rebelling against the general public. Antigone was compelled into opposing the state in order to protect her brother’s honor, follow her religious obligation, and fight for the right she deserves. Nora, on the other hand, was limited by her marital boundaries, yet she offended the state’s generalized segregation for the sake of her family’s and her relationship’s stability. Sophocles and Ibsen were similar in the sense that their plays revolved around the themes of feminism and the rising power struggles of women against men who resembled the general social order. Certain aspects of the presentation of the dramatists’ lead character were put into play in order to further establish the theme to the audience. In both plays, the protagonists, Antigone and Nora, portrayed similar characteristics towards feminism and fighting society. The power struggle between the individuals and their society against male domination was portrayed through Antigone and Nora. The two possess parallel characteristics as evidenced through their actions and dialogues at different part of the plays. Their personal traits and dramatic interactions with other characters in different situation give us further evidence of the similarities of both characters.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Nora and Antigone are both female heroines who resisted male antagonists for their anti-feministic ideology. Being seen inferior to the world run by men in both settings of the play, both of these characters have been illustrated of having similar feministic nature that is now looked upon respectfully in the contemporary world. The society’s view,during both time periods of the plays, on women can be matched to Helmer’s as well. The way he shows domination over his wife is verified by the reiteration of the pronoun, “my” as he directs to Nora, a connotation of “ownership.” In Act I, he once calls Nora “my obstinate little woman” (Ibsen 26).He thinks of her as a ‘play thing’ as evidenced when he talks to her by using several nicknames such as “little skylark”, “pretty little songbird”, “my little sweet-tooth”, or “squirrel”. This is an evidence of him constantly looking down at Nora, viewing himself as the superior of the household. He restricts her many of her actions and does not give her much freedom. “There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt” (Ibsen 2). This also tells us that he takes for Nora for granted that she will do as he says, which in fact is ironic because it turns out to be the complete opposite. This mindset of Helmer denotes the general mindset of men towards women in the setting of the play. It proves how men felt the superiority over women as they were meant to do nothing more than household chores or taking care of the family. Men, on the other hand controlled the family that women took care of, as reflected through Helmer’s dialogues.Another time when this happens is when Antigone also faces such sense of authority by Creon. He once mentions how he doesn’t want to be ruled by a woman, a comparable nature as Helmer: “I’m alive though, and no woman will rule me” (Sophocles 42). This quote mirrors the conventional, negative principles held by men in both settings of the play. Quite on the contrary, Antigone and Nora do not fall in the realm of the general society. They have shown strong, determined morality as rebels in their society by filling up the spaces of men, “It was like being a man”(Ibsen 3), like Nora says. This had shown their believe that they are man enough to do what they want and proving their individuality.

Both of these characters clash with the male-dominated society in much similar ways. Both dramatists have used symbols to represent these values of the conventional society and state; Creon in Antigone, and Helmer in A Doll’s House. As the antagonists embodied the general values of state and society, protagonists, Antigone and Nora, represented the individual rebelling against the society. Antigone was a clear threat to Creon’s power and strength that ruled the state. Creon’s character was portrayed of being filled with masculinity and sense of control that symbolized the state’s law and enforcement. She disobeys the king, and hence, the society, to bury her brother in order to fulfill her duty as a sister. She is able to “question Creon’s laws because of her determination and courage.”Similarly, Nora trembled Helmer’s “perfect” home that was in the delusion of to be dominating. Helmer too, as Creon, was filled with masculinity, ego, male temperament, whichreasoned his aberration of possession and domination in the family. She confines her role as a housewife and a mother, protecting her family. Both had to oppose the ones that they had family ties with, as they risked major parts of their lives. Nora ended up losing her family as she abandons it, whereas Antigone had to give up her life. But despite the price that both of these women had to pay for their choices made, they remained unrepentant and justified in their decisions. “Is it imprudent to save your husband’s life” (Ibsen 11)? , Nora explains, “… must be saved-and that is how I came to devise a way out of he difficulty”. Antigone, just like Nora, felt that she had not done anything wrong, and had made the right decision considering the situation that they were in. “Why should I be ashamed of loyalty to my brother” (Sophocles 624)? , asked Antigone when Creon was objecting her decision to offend his order. Both could be considered tragic heroines because their limited choices led them to follow their principles and morality, which gave them nothing but loss. Nora had to leave her family, unknown of her future, while Antigone had to give up her life for something that she would not have had to. They had both sacrificed something important for the people they care about, and had to oppose the society for their love towards their family.Both were considered strong individuals, determined, and justified of their actions, despite of the circumstances.

Antigone and Nora were both blamed to have inherited ‘sins’ or sinful characteristics from their past generations. Sophocles used this theme of central importance repeatedly throughout the play. Antigone faced the accusation from Creon when he said, “clearly she’s her father’s child, hard and raw. He never learned to yield, for a all his troubles” (Sophocles 580). As the quote suggests, the heredity is thought to have passed down to Antigone from Oedipus. Similarly, Nora is also blamed to have gotten her traits from her father as Helmer said, ” You are an odd little soul. Very like your father… It is in the blood; for indeed it is true that you can inherit these things, Nora” (Ibsen 4). In both cases, the antagonists blame the lead characters of succeeding sins from their fathers, who presumably have committed some sort of sin in the past (both antecedent to the setting of the play) that the daughters now suffer for. Both Antigone and Nora placed high value for family. At one point, Nora was completely ready to give up her life and sacrifice it for her family, a similar attitude that Antigone held throughout the play. This was evidenced in the last conversation between Nora and Krogstad, where Nora once tells him, “When I am no longer-” (Ibsen 45), suggesting her forcoming death if he had shown the letter to Torvald. This shows their extreme love for their family, and thus justifies their reason to oppose the society. Both are strong-willed and felt validated of their actions even after many continuous objections. In Antigone, Ismene tries to convince her at the beginning of the play. As her death arrived, she still remained firmed to her decision, and continued to justify her decision.This is also evidenced with Nora in her conversation with Krogstad. As he continued to accuse Nora of ruining her relationships, breaking her family’s trust, and destroying her household, she remained unconvinced, and stayed firm with her belief. “Is a daughter not to be allowed to spare her dying father anxiety and care? Is a wife not to be allowed to save her husband’s life? I don’t know much about law, but I am certain that there must be laws permitting such things as that” (Ibsen 24). , explained Nora. This shows how both individual’s nature related in many ways as they were put in similar situations.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Antigone and A Doll’s House are both plays that present the themes of feminism and individual vs. society through protagonists that possess similar characteristics. Regardless of the generalized view of women during their time periods, the characters still found the courage and strength to rise above them. Antigone and Nora are characters who overcame many obstacles as women to develop individuality and self-pride. Both are thought to have pertained characteristics, or”sins” as Helmer and Creon refer to, of their father, by the antagonists. Antigone and Nora possessed similar mentality and ideology in the way they acted, believed, and thought. Both have shown evidence of having parallel personalities through their actions and their responses to other characters.The dramatists have used these similar characterization to strengthen their themes; just a the publisher of Ibsen’s play wrote, “creating realistic dialogue, a suspenseful flow of events, and, above all, psychologically penetrating characterization that make the struggles of his dramatic personages utterly convincing” (Bergh back cover).


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: