A play serves as the author's tool for critiquing society. One rarely encounters the ability to transcend accepted social beliefs. These plays reflect controversial issues that the audience can relate to because they interact in the same situations every day. As late nineteenth century playwrights point out the flaws of mankind they also provide an answer to the controversy. Unknowingly the hero or heroine solves the problem at the end of the play and indirectly sends a message to the audience on how to solve their own problem.
Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekov both provide unique analysis on issues their culture never thought as wrong. In the play A Doll's House Ibsen tackles women's rights as a matter of importance being neglected. In his play he acknowledges the fact that in nineteenth century European life the role of the women was to stay home, raise the children, and attend to her husband. Chekov illustrates the role of a dysfunctional family and how its members are effected. Both of the aforementioned problems are solved through the playwrights' recommendations and the actions of the characters. In the plays A Doll's House and Uncle Vanya the authors use realism to present a problem and solution to controversial societal issues.
While both plays mainly concentrate on the negative aspects of culture, there are positive facets explored by the playwrights. In A Doll's House Henrik Ibsen focuses on the lack of power and authority given to women, but through Nora we also see the strength and willpower masked by her husband Torvald. To save her husband's life Nora secretly forges her father's signature and receives a loan to finance a trip to the sea. Nora's ...
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Chamberlain, John S. Ibsen: The Open Vision. 1982.
Hahn, Beverly. Chekhov : a study of the major stories and plays. Cambridge : Cambridge University, 1977.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House (1879). Trans. Rolf Fjelde. Rpt. in Michael Meyer, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th edition. Boston & New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1999. 1564-1612.
Jackson, Robert Louis. Chekhov : a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N. J. : Prentice, 1976
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