Comparing the Wife's Role in A Doll's House and Death of a Salesman Essay

Comparing the Wife's Role in A Doll's House and Death of a Salesman Essay

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The Wife's Role in A Doll's House and Death of a Salesman

 
      "A Doll's House" (1879) and "Death of a Salesman" (1949) are plays written by Henric Ibsen and Henry Miller respectively. And, although they were published in different centuries, and "A Doll's House" was written seventy years before than "Death of a Salesman" Nora's portrayal of the wife's role is much more modern, liberal and less chauvinist than Linda's. Nora and Linda's main differences are reflected in their way of acting towards their husbands, their children and them selves; how they each see life.

 

To her husband, Linda is the perfect wife, she loves him despite knowing he is only "a small man." She is always worried about Willy's health, and tries to protect him. She knows that many times Willy is wrong, but she is unable to face him just in case she hurts his feelings. She supports all his mad ideas knowing this will probably take him to his death. She is loyal and loving, and is always on the background defending him from their sons Biff and Happy. She expresses all this feelings in Act 1, when she says, "I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog." On the other hand Nora doesn't love her husband, but she doesn't become conscious of this until the end of the play when she discovers she has been living a lie all her life. As Linda, she is worried about her husband's health, but instead of just watching she confronts him, acting behind his back, knowing that she ma...


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...who keeps it attached together but she is nothing without her husband. Nora is not of the family; she is more modern and independent, moreover her family is totally broken apart.

 

In conclusion, we can see that nor Linda, nor Nora are happy with their situation. Linda is incapable of expressing herself and confronting her husband therefore her husband ends up dead. And Nora has never had real love and has always been living a lie, but she realises this too late, and now she has to reinvent herself.

 

Works Consulted

 

Corrigan, R.W. (ed.)  Arthur Miller:  A Collection Of Critical Essays.  Prentice-Hall, NJ:  1969.

Ibsen, Henrik. Four Major Plays: A Doll House, the Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, the Master Builder. New York: New American Library, 1992.

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Gerald Weales, ed. New York: Penguin, 1996

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