Comparing A Doll’s House and Oedipus Rex Essay

Comparing A Doll’s House and Oedipus Rex

Ibsen’s drama “A Doll’s House”, serves as an example of the kind of issue-based drama that distinguishes Ibsen from many of his contemporaries. The play’s dialogue is not poetic, but very naturalistic, and the characters are recognizable people. Given the sense of modernity which the play possesses it seems unusual to compare it to a Greek tragedy produced more than two-thousand years previously.

On closer examination however, there are certain similarities between the way in which “A Doll’s House” is plotted and a tragedy such as Oedipus Rex. Both “Oedipus” and “A Dolls’ House” depict disastrous events that occur to two very different characters. At the start of Oedipus, we encounter a hero who is almost universally adored. Oedipus is a popular king who by the end of the play will be reduced to the lowest level possible. Classically the tragic hero began a piece as a man of high position since this made his demise all the more tragic. That the tragic centre if Ibsen’s play is both female and not particularly birth is a distinct departure from the classical condition of tragedy. Ibsen has moved many concepts of the genre and placed them in a domestic setting. In order to see the way Nora can be viewed as a true tragic heroine it is useful to examine some of the concepts which Greek tragedy frequently made use of.

In both plays the trouble that befalls the lead characters are due to their own actions Oedipus commits a series of huge mistakes the significance of which are not really understood until it is too late. In “A Doll’s House”, Nora borrows a sum of money, an action that will tear her family apart. The idea that the tragedy of a play begins with a hug…

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O’Brien, Michael J. Introduction. In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O’Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Segal, Charles. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.

Available http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/browse-mixed new?tag=public&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed∂=0&id=SopOedi

“Sophocles” In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

Van Nortwick, Thomas. Oedipus: The Meaning of a Masculine Life. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.

Watling, E. F.. Introduction. In Sophocles: The Theban Plays, translated by E. F. Watling. New York: Penguin Books, 1974.

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