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Cages In A Doll's House

Decent Essays
Cages are significant throughout A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks. In A Doll’s House, Nora is treated like a “doll-child” and she can’t escape Helmer’s idealistic view of a perfect wife. While these bars are invisible at the beginning of the play, they are still just as oppressing. In contrast, The Venus is chained behind physical bars of a cage and she’s forced to perform for the sake of others. Her cage is very much real and the moment she steps foot in England she’s unable to escape. Additionally, both women are forced into two spectrums of women’s role. The Venus plays the role of The Hottentot Venus who is a temptress and a seductress. While Nora plays the role of a pure, loving, and gentle wife. In the end,…show more content…
The Venus is over sexualized and depicts 17th century ideas of women being a temptress and a seductress. This is shown by The Venus’ new identity as The Hottentot Venus. Throughout Venus, The Hottentot Venus is described in crude and sexual terms. On page five, they refer to The Hottentot Venus as a “Wild Female Jungle Creature” (Parks, 5) and The Mother Showman claims that The Venus is “wild” and “pure heathen” (Parks, 81). When others describe The Venus Hottentot they also use terminology that makes The Venus appear as exotic and foreign. Additionally, The Venus Hottentot it talked about in terms that continue to sexualize her. Parks writes, “She gained fortune and fame by not wearing a scrap/ hiding only the privates that lipped in her lap” (Parks, 6), and they refer to The Venus Hottentot as a “filthy slut” (Parks, 7). When The Venus Hottentot is introduced to spectators she’s almost always been shown in a sexual light and her exotic nature is always brought up. The Mother Showman forces The Venus to play the hyper-sexualized role of a temptress. When introducing The Venus, The Mother Showman says, “COME SEE THE HOT MISS HOTTENTOT” (Parks, 36). It’s required for the The Venus to portray this stereotypical role of an African-American where she’s seen as exotic and sexualized to European spectators in order to gather a larger crowd. While, Nora depicts 19th century ideas of True Motherhood and The Angel in the House, where the mother exist only in the domestic field and her identity is defined by being a mother and wife. Not only, is Nora only defined by her children and husband, Helmer uses her a possession in order to show his success to the world. Nora becomes a “doll” that Helmer trains in order to show his idealized version of a picture perfect family (Ibsen, 63). This is shown by Helmer’s belief that Nora’s duties are to him and to their children. Ibsen
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