Henrik Ibsen in A Doll's House, first performed in 1879, created an unforgettable figure of our literary heritage, presenting to the contemporary audience of his day a shockingly modern and innovative drama in which his heroine, Nora, one of the most powerful depictions of nineteenth century women, radically redefines the established relationship between husband and wife. Nora evolves from her status quo of a happy superficial wife to an independent, forceful thinker, abandoning her husband, Torvald Helmer, by slamming the front door on her quest of her full emancipation, brutally putting an end to the romantic masquerade that had been her marriage. Tennessee Williams offered to the audiences of 1947 one of the tragic masterpieces of the twentieth century, A Streetcar Named Desire.
[...] Her words, with such tragic consequences, thus symbolised her feelings of utter rejection, disappointment and astonishment at this discovery and her failure to express these feelings clearly to Allan resulted in her subsequent need of reassurance that she thought she could find solely in the love of young men. To crystallise this most significant failure of communication Williams organises the tragedy with the rising, mounting and fading away of the Varsouviana, a Polish music reminiscent of the night of Allan's suicide, always present at varying degrees of intensity in Blanche's mind. [...]
[...] Lack of understanding thus provoked a lack of communication and it is this failed or missing communication that prevailed in the eight years of their marriage, ultimately realised by Nora to be the very essence of their stultifying and infantilised relationship. Indeed the Helmer's marriage stood strong and happy in appearance solely thanks to a very particular relationship which assigned specific societal roles to both Helmer and Nora. It could only last so long as Nora accepted to remain a smiling beautiful, uneducated and superficial house mistress, which she wonderfully embodies in the status quo of the opening scene. [...]
[...] Indeed she lies about her age stating that Stella is her “little sister”, but lying also about Belle Reve, lying also most importantly to herself by entrapping herself in a world of illusion and deceit, where for example she received an invitation from Shep Huntleigh for “cruise[s] on the Caribbean”. Therefore lying is a major issue for Blanche which tragically conflicts with her confrontation with reality and thus on her acceptance of her age and thus of herself. Through the example of Ibsen and William's unforgettable heroines, it is evident that [...]
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