Power And Sexuality Of Women In Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts

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Power and Sexuality of Women in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts
Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts is one of the most controversial and criticised plays of the Victorian Era. The play focuses on the universal gender discrimination and the Norwegian Bourgeois’ attitude towards power and sexuality of men as well as women. Ibsen can be labelled as a social critic of the age who unveils the grim images of the then prevailing atmosphere, including the norms of hereditary guilt. The main focus of this paper will be the subordinate and subservient status of women in the play. First the conventional view of women in the Victorian Era is highlighted and subsequently how Ibsen’s play attacks the ideology of women as the ‘serving’ sex within the set-up of a marriage. Then the universally acknowledged conflict between women’s gendered identity and their individual autonomy is presented. This will then lead on to assert that the Victorian society was not ready for the ‘new woman’. Next is the analysis of the fact that female sexuality is controlled by patriarchal discourse, through the Foucauldian and Belseyian concepts of patriarchal power and female sexuality. Then in the end, the paper concludes that the assertion of power or those in power control the sexual discourse in the society.
It is generally believed that the Victorian Era was a period when most women lived inactive and leisurely lives and “husbands and wives remained serenely together, both doing their separate functions” within the marital
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