Literary Analysis of Feminism Seen in Antigone and A Doll’s House

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Susan B. Anthony once said, “The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.” In the plays Antigone, by Sophocles, and A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, strong women overcome restrictions and limitations placed upon them by their society and gender. In Antigone, Antigone chooses to defy Creon, her ruler, uncle, and a male authority figure, to support what she believes is right, which is burying her brother and respecting the gods. Though it was forbidden for her brother to be buried because of Creon’s decree, she resists, and in doing so, feels empowered and discovers what a strong woman she truly is. Similarly, in A Doll’s House, Nora is hindered by how the society in which she lives views women and their capabilities. After saving her husband’s life and keeping the secret of a forgery that could potentially destroy her marriage, Nora discovers that her husband is not who she thinks he is when he turns on her as soon as his reputation is threatened. Through leaving her husband, Helmer, she aims to make a life for herself and become her own person rather than just her husband’s “doll.” Both of these women, Antigone and Nora, make choices that are unheard of for their time periods and that demonstrate the importance of equal relationships between women and men. Through Sophocles and Ibsen’s plays, women in modern times can understand how women are repressed and subservient to men in male-dominated societies. An understanding of the restrictions placed on women requires an analysis of the characters’ submission to men, the expectations placed upon them by society, and their search to find their inner voices through their struggles to be heard. The expectations placed on women by society ... ... middle of paper ... ...ce, and become independent women, even if they go against society’s or their male ruler’s wishes. Sophocles and Ibsen alike portray strong women who defy society’s expectations, do not bend to the wills of men, and who discover themselves while fighting for their rights. The actions taken by Nora and Antigone are remarkable for the time periods in which they live, especially with patriarchal societies. By analyzing these plays, women can determine how to become independent and not always conform to society’s expectations, just as Nora and Antigone do. Relationships between men and women are changing, through time, to become more equal and accepting of strong-willed women. Women worldwide are slowly shrugging off the chains of restrictions placed upon them by the males in their lives and are growing confident enough in themselves to make changes for the better.

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