The Concincing Character Develpoment in Nora Helmer of A Doll’s House and Laura Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie
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Tennessee Williams and Henrik Ibsen both beautifully illustrate their characters in their plays. Although characters Nora Helmer of A Doll’s House and Laura Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie are incredibly different, the authors used very similar techniques of creating them as convincing characters. Nora and Laura both undergo convincing character development with specific motivations behind their actions. Williams and Ibsen also use direct and indirect characterization to further develop Nora and Laura. Without such qualities, the characters would fall short of being memorable.
Laura is a static character, like every other character in The Glass Menagerie. From beginning to end, she is described as “terribly shy” by two people—Tom and the typing instructor. The fact that Tom, her brother, and her typing instructor who is practically a stranger used the same words to describe her leads to the conclusion that Laura can easily be summed up by those two words. There is no depth to her at all with the slight exception of how Jim characterizes her. And even then, she can be summed up by saying she’s one-in-a-million or nicknaming her Blue Roses. She remains quiet and shy throughout almost the entire play except for when she comes out of her shell for a fleeting moment with Jim, before the unicorn’s horn breaks off. The slight development of Laura occurs only because she loved Jim and the belief that she had a chance with him motivated for her to gradually open up. He was building up her confidence even though it was for the purpose of him to practice his public speaking, not because he truly cared about her. But the development is quite convincing since Laura, like any other girl, shy or not, was hoping for love to come to her. Willia...
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...r Helmer, just pretty to look at. “I’ve been your doll-wife here . . . I thought it was fun when you played with me . . . That’s been our marriage, Torvald.” Earlier, she also confronted him about how in their eight years of marriage, that was the first time they had a serious conversation about anything serious. Nora actually develops to be very complex and three-dimensional—a round character.
Williams and Ibsen developed their characters to be very convincing through the use of character development and motivation, and characterizing them to be a certain type of character. Nora proved to be a very sophisticated character while Laura was very simple. Even though the two are very different, both proved to be very believable and could be related to everyday people in the world outside of literature. The great use of characterization has given life to Nora and Laura.