Gender In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

1283 Words6 Pages
Gender representation is a theme in which is common when focusing on the form and content of both Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godott. Even though they are represented in different manners they both highlight the gender norms during the time period they were written. Within Beckett’s writings masculinity is prominent, centralizing the powerful and protruding gender focal point. Whereas Ibsen includes the female perspective and allows the readers to become aware of the gender representation as such. Cultural values of a specific time period are suggested to have an impact on the writings and themes. As Bonny Ball Copenhaver stated in their writing discussing the portrayal of gender and gender roles in plays,…show more content…
The reader becomes very aware of the situation Nora is faced with as Ibsen challenges us to think about the societal times women were a part of during the late 1800’s. As Unni Langas states in her article describing gender within the play, “..this drama is not so much about Nora’s struggle to find herself as a human being, as it is about her shocking experience of being treated as a woman..” (Langas, 2005). This gives the reader an insight into Nora Helmer’s character. She is evidently perceived as the Doll trapped in the Doll house, as she is viewed as an entertainer rather than her own person in the eyes of her husband and children. The representation of the doll is symbolically significant as Nora is compared to a beautiful feminine figure, being the doll, but also someone who is treated as a toy and as someone who is disrespected. An example of Torvald’s thoughts about Nora is clear in Act three as a conversation between the pair highlights his true feelings towards his wife, “Torvald: It's shocking. This is how you would neglect your most sacred duties. Nora: What do you consider my most sacred duties? Torvald: Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your husband and your children? Nora: I have other duties just as sacred. Torvald: That you have not. What duties could those be?” (Ibsen, Act three). This exemplifies the degrading…show more content…
However, unlike A Doll’s House, the cast consists of five men, not including a female role. Seeing as Beckett does not incorporate a female role, readers can be led to believe that Samuel based this gender identity around the assumption that men are the more powerful sex and masculine gender presentations involve maintaining a powerful disposition. It can be said that this interrelates the idea that masculinity and power correlate.Vladimir’s masculine power in particular is displayed when he decides that himself and Gogo represent all mankind only when they are asked for help, as he states “But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!”(Beckett, Act two). The use of the word “mankind”(Beckett, Act Two) particularly emphasizes the male dominance, adding to the gender specified form the play presents. Vladimir also refers to mankind as being “us”, this suggests his thought process is based around the male power he possesses and the importance he believes it portrays. Also the use of the phrase “whether we like it or not” can be viewed as an indication of Vladimir’s masculine power to take charge and be
Open Document