A Doll’s House and Antigone Essay

Discuss the Concept of the sins of the father in relation to A Doll’s House and Antigone

The concept of inherited sin is in the most read book in human history appearing in the first chapter of the Holy Bible where Adam and Eve; original man and woman eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and are expulsed from Paradise. This is the original sin all humans have inherited thus being born into a state of sin. This theme of inheriting evil from your parents is central in Sophocles’ 442 Bce Greek Tragedy Antigone as it caused the problems that befall Antigone and her sister Ismene as well as influencing Haemon’s actions. It is an important theme in the Norwegian realist play A Doll’s House (1879) by Henrik Ibsen pertaining mainly to the characters of Dr. Rank, Krogstad and the protagonist Nora.

It seems unfair that anyone should be doomed for their forefather’s misdeeds but this view is widely accepted in both works. Helmer when justifying dismisisng Krogstad sums up his feelings on the topic, at one point the past Krogstad committed forgery and Helmer believes this has negatively affected his children “an atmosphere like that infects and poisons the whole life of a home. In a house like that, every breath that the children take is filled with the germs of evil” . His trite speech possesses a pseudoscientific justification for his views but he says a moment later “nearly all young men who go to the bad have had lying mothers” claiming as a lawyer to be an authority on the subject. It seems however more likely he is simply reflecting conservative bourgeois values of the time in attempting to pin the social problems of the poor back onto them but there is a dire irony in what he says about “going home and poisoning his own childre…

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…and son” , and has caused the death of her mother, father and two brothers. Despite all she remains proud of it and would die to honour her brother who possesses it. Before her death she refers to herself as the “Last daughter of your royal house” as she doesn’t consider Ismene who shied away from duty to Polynices to have the royal blood. Antigone dies easily for only in death can she rejoin her family and escape her cursed life. Similarly in A Doll’s House Nora’s children truly love her, It is mentioned many times them wanting to see her and how they enjoy playing with her “children want to come in to Mamma – they’re asking so prettily.” . The children are doomed to have their mother walk out on them at the end but they still love for her, Krogstad’s children are never seen, but what he does he does for them and can it be hoped they reciprocate the feelings.

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