Comparing the Powerful Women in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Susan Glaspell's Trifles

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Comparing the Powerful Women in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Susan Glaspell's Trifles

Throughout history, a woman's role is to be an obedient and respectful wife. Her main obligation is to support, serve, and live for her husband and children. In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Susan Glaspell's Trifles, two different women make a decision to take matters into their own hands by doing what they want to do, no matter what the outcome may be and in spite of what society thinks. These two women come from different homes and lead very different lives yet, these two women share similar situations--both are victims, both are seeking individuality, and initially, both women end up alone. There are many ways that Nora and
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Mr. Wright is controlling, and possibly physically abusive. This is evident when Mrs. Peters finds the birdcage with "one hinge [. . .] pulled apart"(983). Other evidence that Mr. Wright is (verbally) abusive is when Mrs. Hale states: "She [Mrs. Wright] used to sing. He [Mr. Wright] killed that too"(985). Nora's husband, Torvald, never took her seriously, saying: "Here we go again, you and your frivolous ideas!"(918). Torvald is also (verbally) abusive, when enraged he says "you think and talk like a stupid child"(964). Similarly, Mr. Hale does not take women seriously and he is quick to judge, saying "women are used to worrying over trifles"(980). It is obvious that men in this day thought very little of women. This lack of positive attention that both women received pushed them even further to leave.

The second way that Nora and Mrs. Wright are similar is that both are seeking freedom, self worth, and happiness in life. They are seeking individuality. When Nora realizes that she must become independent, she states: "If I'm ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone"(963). Before leaving, Nora also states: "I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, [. . . ] or at least I'm going to try to be"(963). Nora decides that she can no longer live unhappily with a man that is merely a "stranger"(965). Furthermore, Mrs. Wright tries to reclaim her happy spirits by buying a canary.
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