Before comparing these two pieces of works, the definition of justice is needed to address the question as fully as possible. Justice is a concept which involves fair and ethical treatment for everyone. It is usually seen as the continued effort to do what is right. In most cases this is done by making use of logic. This is the premise which is going to be used for justice when comparing the two works. Sophocles’ Antigone differs largely from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House since they were written in different centuries and different cultures, but at the same time both works share similarities. Ibsen does not identify a direct problem and he chooses to develop his characters and the problem as the play unfolds. Sophocles begins Antigone with a challenge directed at the power of the king. This directly identifies a problem and source of tension from the start of the play in contrast to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Tensions arise in both works when the female protagonists disobey laws which they find contradictory to their values and beliefs. The protagonists stand by their beliefs throughout unlike their counter parts who continue to change their beliefs.
Ibsen chooses to create and develop his characters at the same time as developing the source of the dilemma. We see the problem later on when Nora and Christine hold their first discussion. Ibsen does not disclose the precise nature of the loan during this discussion. Nora presents the issue vaguely with a simple question, “Is it imprudent to save your husband’s life?” With the question presented in such a way, the audience is placed in a position where they agree with Nora since saving someone is usually considered to be heroic. The audience discovers later, however, that although Nora’s ac…
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…n to accomplish the respective tasks which create a moral dilemma. The female protagonists in both plays always follow their principles whilst their counterparts keep changing their principles showing signs of weakness. From the definition given at the beginning concerning justice, we see that both the female protagonists are right in the sense that they did the right thing which was to save one’s husband and to bury one’s brother. They used logic to make the decisions they made irrespective of the consequences thinking they were true. The male protagonists fail to understand logic right to the end until finally they are in a total ruin.
Ibsen, Henrik J. Four Great Plays of Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House, the Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, the Master Builder. New York: Pocket, 2005.
Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays. Great Britain: Penguin Classics, 1984