the truth behind ibsen Essay

Submitted By sarahtodd1996
Words: 1579
Pages: 7

The Truth Behind Henrik Ibsen During the 19th century, prominently known playwright, Henrik Ibsen develops his own opinion of women throughout both well-known plays A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. When looking deeper into Ibsen’s work the reader is able to see that Ibsen was indeed an activist, advocating feminism. During a time period where there was so much emphasis on women doing the wrong thing and fighting the standards Ibsen develops a meaning or better understanding of why these women were fighting against society’s expectations.
Throughout both plays Ibsen demonstrates the attitudes and roles of women in the middle class. In correlation to both A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, Ibsen also expresses his own opinion. Through textual evidence the reader is able to see Ibsen’s true character, that he is indeed a women’s activist, advocating feminism. He recognizes the fact that women were victims in many situations caused by the men they surrounded themselves around and made his writing a personal documentary expressing his own feelings. After reading A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, it became much more apparent of how women were living in the 19th century. Women were forced under demanding social expectations to be the perfect women. This included being a mother, wife, and servant all at the same time while carrying the attitude of a classy woman. With all of these social pressures many women began to crack. While running away from the pressure was one way of coping with the stress, many other women fought the standards. Some women even began to write about their own beliefs. Catharine Beecher was one of the many, who said “women even in our own age and country, has never been allowed such equal advantages and that multiplied wrongs and suffering have resulted from this injustice” (Beecher). The bravery that some women had was not uncommon of the 19th century. They believed in getting jobs and becoming independent by supporting themselves and not conforming to society’s expectations. Throughout both plays Ibsen demonstrates the attitudes and roles of women in the middle class. In correlation to both A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, Ibsen also expresses his own opinion. Through textual evidence the reader is able to see Ibsen’s true character, that he is indeed a women’s activist, advocating feminism. He recognizes the fact that women were victims in many situations caused by the men they surrounded themselves around and made his writing a personal documentary expressing his own feelings. While Ibsen was trying to show the outside world what was going on in society, many other authors were starting to develop the ideologies of realism and expressing their own feelings towards a subject, but unlike Ibsen many male writers were not discussing women’s rights. Before the reader is able to fully understands the thoughts behind Ibsen’s work, they he must first come to terms with how everyone was living during that time period. With a progression in technology and labor, many changes were occurring. Women’s roles were meant to steady all this uncertainty, but women could not help but see opportunities for themselves in this growth. “The emerging woman ... will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied...strength and beauty must go together” (Alcott). Louisa Alcott, like many others believed that women were “emerging” and great change was in the making. Jobs opened up in factories, retail establishments and offices, giving independent women new options. Education became mandatory for both genders in many states. Women sought higher education, too, first in all female institutions and then in co-ed environments. In addition to job and educational changes, the push for women’s rights, with suffrage in the forefront, also gathered momentum. Regardless of these changes, many women still stayed at home. All of these tremendous happenings had a great influence on writers during the…