There have always been fundamental differences between the mentalities of the male and female sexes. At one time, women were considered as a possession of the father or husband. Women were denied participation in public life, they had restricted access to education, and they weren't legally allowed to own property. This oppression of women did not prevent them from fighting for, and obtaining, equal rights. It seems that women followed the laws created by men as long as they didn't conflict with what women believed. When there was a conflict between the laws of men and belief’s of women, then the laws of men were ignored. This is clearly illustrated in the two dramas, Antigone and A Doll’s House.
In the drama, "Antigone", the story revolves around, a young, strong-willed and defiant female, Antigone. She disobeys the order imposed by a male, the King of Thebes, which stated that Polynices should be left, unburied and unmourned, and anyone who broke this decree would suffer death as a punishment. She reacted unselfishly, opposing all that represented power in her world, in order that her brother gain peace and harmony in his after life. She justifies her actions by stating that she was bound to comply with the undying laws of right and wrong in spite of any human laws. It is her belief that Creon's law is inferior to that of the Gods. Therefore by breaking the law she felt it was her obligation to bury her own flesh and blood, and to perform the necessary ceremonial burial rituals. She was accomplishing the doctrine her God Zeus had instilled in her. When Antigone was confronted with her "crime", she denied nothing. As a result she m...
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... of Youth/ A Doll's House/ The Lady From the Sea. Trans. Peter Watts. England: Clays Ltd., 1965.
Jaeger, Werner. "Sophocles' Mastery of Character Development." In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
Salomé, Lou. Ibsen's Heroines. Ed. and trans. Siegfried Mandel. Redding Ridge: Black Swan, 1985.
Templeton, Joan. "The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen." PMLA (January 1989): 28-40.
A student may wish to begin his paper with the quotes below to create a stronger opening:
Women observe the law as far as there is no conflict with what they believe, while men look at it as an absolute.
"There are two kinds of spiritual laws, two kinds of conscience, one in a man and another altogether different in a woman. They do not understand each other." (Foreword to, "Four Major Plays").
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