Comparing the Treatment of Women in Hedda Gabbler, A Doll's House and Ghosts
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Women as Victims in Hedda Gabbler, A Doll's House and Ghosts
In Ibsen's plays - Hedda Gabbler, A Doll's House and Ghosts - the female protagonists of Hedda Gabler, Nora and Mrs. Alving demonstrate how social expectations and restrictions of women impacts the life every woman on a very personal level.
Conservative social and religious leaders imposed women's restricted social roles. Women had to be married; there was not another socially acceptable option. After marriage they had to stay with their families and fulfill their social and moral duty regardless of their personal feelings or how their husbands treated them. Ibsen presents his characters Hedda, Nora and Helene as victims of the patriarchal system of family and marriage that was supported by the church and society in general. In these plays, Ibsen did not present marriage as a blissful state of love and mutual respect; in the case of Hedda and Mrs. Alving the main objective of marriage was to maintain a socially acceptable image. In Nora's case her husband was constantly concern about what people might think about their family. In each play there is an emphasis on the effort of the women to maintain the appearance of happy marriage regardless of how pitiful the actual circumstances might be. Eventually, each woman becomes aware of her plight and takes a drastic measure to liberate herself - regardless of the personal costs.
Although Hedda's personality is much stronger than that of Nora and Mrs. Alving, she also is victimized by the prevailing social norms. Hedda's fate results from her unconscious decision to be like her father. Hedda is a woman with masculine view of the world. Her hobby is to shoot guns which is an...
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