Henrik Ibsen in his drama A Doll's House vividly shocked his contemporary audiences of 1879, unaccustomed to the radical and novel insights on the relationship between husband and wife he displayed through his heroines' emancipation, from her role of a self content wife in a superficial marriage to her brave refusal of this specific role society was imposing on her. Tennessee Williams in A Streetcar Named Desire, one of his most successful and psychologically-rich modern tragedies, presents to us the progressive mental demise of a genteel aristocratic Blanche Dubois, confronted and trapped in a society whose modern values she cannot comprehend. In these works, both Ibsen and Williams created some of the most vivid and influential depictions of women in our literature, figures which still inspire us and live on today. Nora's emancipation and Blanche's spiritual death, the outcome of each play are brought upon them by the revelation of a secret they both have endeavoured to hide from their entourage.
[...] A very down to earth man, Stanley Kowalski, who knows women quite extensively through his sexual magnetism, is not for an instant fooled by Blanche's magic of a world of perfume puffs and extravagant clothing and conscious that she is impeding on his intimate relation with Stella, resorts to progressively explore Blanche's past in order to dismantle this unwelcome threat. He very rapidly notices that Southern belle Blanche Dubois, despite her eloquence and poetic references, embodies a perverted version of the southern gentry and is not as pure and innocent as she resolves to be. [...]
[...] When the IOU is conveniently returned, Helmer, who had totally disowned her, claims am saved”, focusing yet again on his sole sense of self-importance, returns to his prior desire of using his “physical” rights of a husband. Yet through the revelation of her dark secret, Nora realises a darker and more deranging truth. At the term of a great personal evolution, Nora incarnates authority, demanding Helmer to down”. In the symbolic light she places on the table, she claims, eight whole years we have never exchanged a single word on a serious subject”, realizing just what a romantic masquerade her wedding had been. [...]
[...] Whilst Stanley is exposing a harsh reality, Blanche softly sings a popular ballad, the paper moon song with lyrics cringingly suggesting the illusionary world in which she lives: it wouldn't be make believe if you believed in Therefore the revelation of her secret promiscuous past results in her further rejection from Stanley's world, whilst he loses any respect he may have had for her, even buying her a one-way bus ticket home to Laurel for her birthday, and in the climax of scene ten results in his raping of this woman too for Mitch and accustomed to the entertainment of men , which inexorably shatters her already unstable mental state and leads to her final psychological demise. [...]
[...] Delighting in the process of reversal, Ibsen chooses to smash the audience's expectations by having Mrs Linde decided to put an to all those shiftings and evasions” by leaving the letter in the mailbox in order for Nora and Torvald to “come to a full understanding”. Yet whereas Mrs Linde thought this would help them establish a marriage based on new solid foundations, it will have the adverse effect by actually destroying it. Indeed when Helmer discovers in Act III Nora's crime, he exclaims God what a dreadful awakening [ . [...]
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