Henrik Ibsen Thesis Paper
Ibsen Paper College English Mrs - Henrik Ibsen Thesis Paper introduction. Wright 2/1/13 Jake Pratt Life presents questions to every person that experiences it. Many of these question will forever remain unanswered. The social and psychological problems and questions that life throws at it attendants are stressed by one of the mid to late 1800’s best problem play authors, Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen spend most of his writing career exploring the human mind. He had a passion for the truth, and due to this he conveyed his thoughts through writing. His time period offered many scenarios for him to write about which still apply to today’s society.
One of these scenarios is the societal roles that given to people. Ibsen stressed the importance of societal and gender roles in his writing, hoping to convey his messages of equality to his readers. Yes, life does create problems and questions for humans, but it is the humans who create problems amongst themselves by creating the concept of societal roles. Ibsen writes about the roles of women in his 1879 work, A Doll’s House. At the time of writing, women were seen as mainly subservient beings. However, Nora is unlike many other women of her time.
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She was a radical, she wanted something better. She felt belittled by Torvald by the way he talks to her. In that time, men were the dominant sex; society of that time showed that. Nora disagreed, though. She believed that, if anything, she should at least be treated as an equal by her own husband. This is where the criteria for a problem play comes into play, the exposition. Nora becomes impatient, she wants equality. Then the event is introduced to the story. Torvald is promoted, and he continues to belittle Nora.
At this time, Krogstad blackmails Nora about the money that she used and the secrets she was hiding from her husband. In a conversation with Nora he says “Poor or not- if I introduce this paper in court, you’ll be judged according to the law” (Norton intro to Literature, p. 2202). Nora is scared by this, for she does not want Torvald to find out that she owes someone money, especially since she has spend money on other unessential’s with his own money. At the same time, Torvald’s main concern is his own reputation and the reputation of his family.
This is due to his role in society, and this angers Nora. That is where the unraveling of the problem begins. This is the final portion of a problem play. Nora decides that she should not have to deal with being belittled by Torvald anymore. She leaves, stating “… Goodbye Torvald, I won’t look in on the children. I know they’re in better hands than mine. The way I am now, I am no use to them” (Norton Intro to Literature, p. 2233). This decision was based upon the feelings that she felt due to the role she was given as a woman in her time period.
Society led her to her decisions, and she acted upon them. Emma Goldman states “When Nora closes behind her the door of her doll’s house, she opens wide the gate of life for woman, and proclaims the revolutionary message that only perfect freedom and communion make a true bond between man and woman, meeting in the open, without lies, without shame, free from the bondage of duty” (Goldman, A Doll’s House) In 1882, Henrik Ibsen wrote Enemy of the People. In this story there are two main sources of conflict; the societal roles, and majority vs. minority.
This story is especially important because these two conflicts are joined together to become one larger problem involving many people. Peter and Dr. Stockman are brothers. Peter, the mayor, represents the majority. Dr. Stockman represents the minority. Throughout the story both brothers are working toward one major goal, doing what’s best for the townspeople. However, conflict arises in terms of what really is best for the people. This new brother rivalry is fueled by the fire that is society. In a dialogue between the two brothers, they scald each other. Peter says to Dr.
Stockman “You, who in your blind obstinacy want to cut off the most important source of the town’s welfare? ” to which the doctor replies “The source is poisoned, man! Are you mad? We are making our living by retailing filth and corruption… ” (An Enemy of the People, p. 30). The majority follows what Peter has to say, seeing as how society has placed him in a leadership role. The minority follow the doctor. Now, both aspects of the conflict are in full blast. Society is forcing these brothers to work against each other, ironically for one main shared purpose.
Both of these stories show the affect that society has on communities and individuals, alike. The need for specific people, such as Torvald and the Stockman brothers, to be what society wants them to be creates conflicts that are larger than themselves. It creates problems with others. This is the result of human doing what they do best, make mistakes. The human race evolves over time, both mentally and physically. With these changes come new responsibilities and decisions. When people fail to fulfill their responsibilities, conflicts arise.
That is seen in these stories. This is a similar pattern as that of the gender role throughout history. Women were seen as the more submissive gender. This is because human beings made it this way. All of these conflicts and problems that are still to this day present are because of humans. As a race, humans create problems between each other because they feel some sort of unearned privilege to be better than others. Henrik Ibsen understood this concept; he loved to explore the minds of humans. That is what made his writing so interesting.
The dramatization of controversial social and psychological questions of existence made Ibsen’s writing both interesting and believable. That is why his stories are still read today. Works Cited Goldman, Emma. “The Social Significance of the Modern Drama: A Doll’s House. ” The Social Significance of the Modern Drama: A Doll’s House. N. p. , 02 July 2003. Web. 01 Feb. 2013. Ibsen, Henrik, and Arthur Miller. An Enemy of the People. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1951. Print. Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. New York: Dover Publications, 1992. Print.