A Doll’s House and The Cherry Orchard

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Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard were famous for the way in which they depicted the changing of cultures. Both plays act as a sort of social commentary during times of widespread liberation, and use the contortive nature of these seemingly stereotypical characters’ actions to speak about groups of people as a whole. Throughout the course of both plays, this subversion of how different groups of people were typically perceived created a distinct contrast which often shocked and appalled audiences of the time. However, the effects of these plays were felt long after they were presented. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, written in 1879, is set in late-19th century Norway. Upon publication, Ibsen’s biting…show more content…
In furtherance of this, Torvald even begs and pleads for her to stay, all to no avail. Nora explains:

“I have waited for eight years. I felt quite certain that the wonderful thing was going to happen at last. . .I was so absolutely certain that you would come forward and take everything upon yourself (Ibsen 70).”

Torvald responds, in accordance with popular male thinking,” No man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves (Ibsen 70).” At this point, Nora decides she must leave Torvald. This decision is the ultimate act of insubordination, as no woman of late-19th century Norway would have dared to act in such a bold way. As the play concludes, Torvald is left sad and weak, his masculinity diminished, but realizing that the way which he treated Nora was improper and immoral. The final line leaves a lingering hint of hope for a resolution, tying together the social commentary with a possible solution: more equal treatment of women.

Likewise, Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard also uses subversion techniques and insubordination in order to bring to light many prevailing social themes of late-19th century Russia. During this period of time, Russia was faced with a massive change. In 1861, serfdom was eradicated in Russia and serfs were freed. This action had enormous social implications, as an entire generation of serfs were now free to roam amongst the masses of wealthy people. Of course,

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