A Character Comparison: Nora vs. Antigone Essay

1922 Words Jan 2nd, 2006 8 Pages
Ian Gidley
IB English I
May 17, 2005
World Literature Paper I
A Character Comparison: Nora Vs. Antigone

In the novels A Doll's House and Antigone, Ibsen and Sophocles respectively create two lead female characters, Nora and Antigone, who confront society's expectations of women in fundamentally different ways. Nora goes against the grain of middle class society by first forging her father's signature and then deceiving her husband, Torvald, throughout their marriage; Antigone, on the other hand, openly challenges and defies the rule of men, including her uncle and King of Thebes, Creon. Although Nora and Antigone share some comparable personality traits, like being strong willed and motivated, they confront the men in their lives
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Torvald and Creon, therefore, are both strong men who act as the instigators of the repression of Nora, Antigone, and women as a whole in society. Ultimately, the two different societies, more than 2000 years apart, have virtually identical perceptions on women's place in society - a perception of women as submissive and obedient objects meant to be controlled and whom can be discarded for the sake of honor and one's country. Both Nora and Antigone attempt to, at times inadvertently, break out of the repressive lid that their societies have formed over women, but they go about their quest in fundamentally different ways. Antigone is a strong and motivated individual, as can be observed from her heated conversation with Ismene on the subject of burying her brother in defiance of Creon's commands. "Perhaps, but I am doing what I must." "Yes, more than must. And you are doomed to fail." "Why then, I'll fail, but not give up before." (195) As a consequence of her resilient and rebellious personality, Antigone utilizes open defiance as a tool against Creon and male dominated society. "You chose flagrantly to disobey my law?" "Naturally! Since Zeus never promulgated such a law." (210) Antigone justifies her insubordination towards Creon and male society by declaring that the laws of the Gods are above the laws of mankind. Not once does Antigone deny