The Strength and Courage of Women Exposed in A Doll’s House and Antigone

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Have you ever wondered what women were like before the liberation movement of the 1970s? In the plays Antigone, by Sophocles, and A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, women are represented as weak, underlings to men. However, both protagonists in the play, Antigone and Nora, show their strength and courage when they go against society. Antigone shows how strong she is when she goes against the King’s decree and buries her brother who is a traitor. Nora, to save her husband’s life, takes out a loan which wasn’t allowed for a woman to do in the 1800s. Both these actions show these two women were strong enough to go against society’s belief, and do what needed to be done. It’s important for men and women to give their opinions and feelings in a relationship because there needs to be a balance of power. Sophocles and Ibsen show how society has placed constrictions on women from five B.C. to the 1800s by portraying Antigone and Nora to be intelligent, determined, yet subservient women. To start with, throughout history women have been looked at as having less intelligence then men. However, Antigone and Nora demonstrate that they have more intelligence than the men around them. First, Antigone shows Creon that she has more intelligence than him when she chooses to follow the gods’ laws, while Creon only makes more laws that contradict the gods’ laws. Antigone makes her stance known to Creon on his edicts when she says, “Nor do I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakable traditions” (Sophocles 30). In addition, Creon thinks he is the most powerful person, yet Antigone is intelligent enough to know no one has more power than the gods. She demonstrates this when she bur... ... middle of paper ... ...heir lives to be happy. Indeed, Antigone and Nora defied the norm for women in their time periods when they demonstrated their intelligence and determination. However, Antigone and Nora only played at being subservient to men just to appease them. The portrayal of women as weak compared to men is totally opposite to what Antigone and Nora showed in their actions. Sophocles and Ibsen showed their forward thinking compared to the times they lived in when they had a strong, independent woman as their protagonist. Works Cited Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House. World Literature: An Anthology of Great Short Stories, Poetry, and Drama. Columbus, Ohio: McGraw Hill Glencoe, 2004. 140-202. Print. Sophocles. Antigone. World Literature: A Anthology of Great Short Stories, Poetry, and Drama. Columbus, Ohio: McGraw Hill Glencoe, 2004. 14-57. Print.

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