The Question of Human Rightrs Essay example

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Robin Thrush
Gary MacCoubrey
ENGL-1705
Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 The Question of Human Rights Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen often voices cruel truths in his work. According to notable author Micheal Meyer, Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House is described as “… decidedly the most important and successful thing Ibsen has ever done” (Meyer 457) but also “… written by a vulgar and evil mind” (Meyer 457). This is due to the way divorce and separations are portrayed in an era where such a thing is uncommon. Although that this play often implies a feminist stance through Ibsen’s use of a leading female character, his main concern is that of human rights, or personal individuality, obvious through his various situational parallel’s between both sexes. This is evident in the sub-plot of Krogstad, a parallel to Nora’s situation, but from a male perspective. At that time, the play explosively affected male and female audience members. Considering Ibsen’s true purpose, of awakening “the need of every individual to find out what kind of person he or she really is and to strive to become that person” (Meyer 457), it becomes clear that he concerns himself with humanist issues. The sub-plot of Krogstad portrays a clear parallel between Krogstad’s past actions and Nora’s current situation. He also forged a signature to better a bad situation that no doubt, ended worse. This sub-plot is a major suggestion as to what may come of Nora in the denouement of the play since these characters are found in similar situations. They have both broken the law optimistically for considerate reasons, but this does not change that they have committed a crime. A crime in this society is of significant importance since it affects one’s image. Both male and female characters also go about trying to solve their problems in similar ways through lies, manipulation, and deceit to those around them. The idea of keeping secrets plays an important role here. It awakens the truth that without so much mockery and importance of maintaining a personal image, keeping secrets of one’s individual judgments need not be so much of a problem. Krogstad is able to decipher Torvald’s reactions to his wife’s behaviour perfectly. Ibsen therefore acknowledges a humanist perspective by demonstrating an understanding of male behavioural patterns. The play reaches out to male audience members as it does to female audience members. The major parallels between both sexes in the play allow male audiences to relate more personally with the male characters and the female audiences with the female characters. Both sexes play parts in major roles concerning similar problems to be discovered or solved. As Meyer so eloquently quotes Ibsen “A man is easy to study […] but one never fully understands a woman” (Meyer 454). Meyer also mentions the studies of Edvard Brands and correspondents, and also quotes Georg Brandes who declares that “what is really wanted is a revolution of the spirit of man” (Meyer 457), suggesting that the play encourage of type a male revolt against the current feminist revolution. Taking on a more modern outlook, Meyer also cleverly states that “there is hardly a married woman in the audience who does not sometimes want […] to leave her husband” (Meyer 457). However, Nora had no intentions of separating and was unwilling to accept the idea of Torvald sacrificing everything for her and goes out of her way to keep her secret from him. Nora’s motives quickly change when Torvald’s reactions are not that of the loving man she thought him to be; she leaves him on an impulse. It is ironic, however, that “[…] the play which established Ibsen as the champion of women should have been so deeply resented by the woman who had inspired it” (Meyer 457-58). The fact that men can relate so easily to the play and that Ibsen’s main character is in fact female conveys the idea that Ibsen is a humanist. The main purpose of Ibsen’s play is to awaken “the…