Mamet And Ibsen Analysis

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There has been a prevalent prejudice since the beginning of time against women having power. The traditional view has always sketched out women as the ones who stay home under the rule of a dominant male figure. And though these sentiments have become less harsh, these ideologies still exist today. Nonetheless, what differs nowadays is that more women (and men) have become vocal about issues regarding this pervasively patriarchal society. Things like the #MeToo movement and numerous women’s marches take place, highlighting the rise in the promotion of equal rights. David Mamet and Henrik Ibsen, two writers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, created literary works at a time when the support for equal rights was nowhere near the level…show more content…
Mamet opens Oleanna with Carol being a seemingly submissive student searching for help from her dominant male teacher, John. Primarily, their relationship seems to be aligned with the societal norms during that time period (i.e. the twentieth century) where the woman acts under the male’s authority. Notwithstanding, this assumption is disparaged by the end of the play as it becomes evident that Carol attains more power than John. As the play wraps up she states, “You ask me here. What do you want? You want to “convince” me...to recant. I will not recant...What I say is right.” Her tone at the play’s climax serves as a great contrast to the way she spoke in the beginning. The newfound sharp and authoritative nature of her tone serves as an effective transition, going into the conclusion where an unmistakable shift in power has occurred. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House develops a similar tone to Oleanna, drawing attention to the same issue that control over women can lead to corruption. The play commences with the characterization of Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer. Nora is displayed throughout the majority of the play as a female subordinate who Torvald treats like a child. Despite this, it is also made clear from the very beginning that Nora has rebellious tendencies. Ibsen’s inclusion of Nora’s secret, and rather minute, disobediences leads effectively into the ending…show more content…
In Oleanna, Mamet initially assigns Carol diction that pinpoints her inferior status but then advances with Carol’s word choice becoming more commanding. As the end of the play approaches, Carol begins to emphasize the shift in power that has taken place. Her word choice displays how she has more ascendancy over John as she begins to denounce his actions: “All your silly weak guilt, it’s all about privilege, and you won’t know it. Don’t you see?” Carol’s assertion of her newly-attained power focalizes how she can finally express her opinion and let her voice be heard. Likewise, the addition of the phrase, “Don’t you see?” adds a touch of irony since it plays off the notion that the man knows best and that his view is the correct one; in this case, Carol is the one indoctrinating her opinion to John and is being highly critical of his lack of understanding towards her view. Correspondingly, A Doll’s House captures how impactful abusive language can be. Henrik Ibsen assigning Nora negative emotive language at the end of the play correlates to why she was able to adequately gain power over Torvald. Her assertive statement, “...for eight years I had been living here with a strange man, and had borne him three children,” serves to criticize Torvald’s treatment towards her. Through the use of this language, Nora is able to insult Torvald in such a way that
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