Ibsen

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Forshey 1 Running head: IBSEN’S FEMALE CHARACTERS

Ibsen’s Female Characters in Captivity: An Exploration of Literature and Performance

Christina Kelley Forshey

A Senior Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation in the Honors Program Liberty University Fall 2008

Forshey 2 Acceptance of Senior Honors Thesis This Senior Honors Thesis is accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation from the Honors Program of Liberty University.

______________________________ Linda Nell Cooper, M.A. Thesis Chair

______________________________ Neal Brasher, M.F.A. Committee Member

______________________________ Kenneth Cleaver, Ph.D. Committee Member

______________________________
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In Ibsen’s work, a second and sometimes third captor also enslaves the character in increasing levels of captivity. The deep oppression of an imprisoned identity forces these characters to make decisions for life or death. The theme of captivity has several applications in the areas of literature and performance. Through an understanding of the literary theme of captivity, the reader will be able to more profoundly connect with the struggles of Ibsen’s female protagonists, and unite this theme of non-physical captivity to the realm of human nature. The actor can also benefit from an increased understanding of the textual theme of captivity in Ibsen’s plays, and portray the character’s mental and emotional bondage through a realistic acting style. The literary idea of non-physical captivity is integral to a significant understanding of Ibsen’s characters, and a meaningful representation of these characters. The theme of captivity begins as a literary tool in the development of the female protagonist through the genius of playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen’s Life and Times The theme of captivity as a literary tool in the development of the female protagonist comes from a life of bleak circumstances and paramount curiosity: the life of

Forshey 6 playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen was born in 1828 and grew up in abject poverty as a result of his father’s bankruptcy. Ibsen’s mother suffered many hardships and serves as a
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