The Archetypical Roles of Marriage: Motives of Both Men and Women, and Epiphanies of Characters to Understand Themselves in Medea and a Doll’s House

Topics: A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen, Norway Pages: 5 (1689 words) Published: February 19, 2013
The Archetypical Roles Of Marriage: Motives Of Both Men And Women, and Epiphanies of Characters to Understand Themselves in Medea and A Doll’s House

Today’s society is very different compared to societies of the past. Women throughout did not have many rights until recently. The challenging roles of marriage were strongly placed on women and they were expected to fit into these roles by both cultures of Greece and Norway. Together, Medea by Euripides and A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen express how the traditional roles of marriage are challenged by the archetypes of the man and the woman. The character of Medea is driven by a motive of rancor towards her husband, however Nora is driven by a motive to find her true existence and identification in the world. Both characters motives cause them to have an epiphany about the stereotypes and archetypes of marriage, which shows how the two women leave their families to break the barrier that men are superior to women, which is a calling from Euripides and Ibsen for a more humanistic society for everyone to be equal in. In Medea, the marriage between Jason and Medea failed. The play starts off with Jason and Medea being separated, and Medea soon becomes an outcast. Euripides uses this dead marriage to show how the archetypes of marriage of the man and the woman lead to a disaster (Willink, C. W). Before the marriage Jason and Medea loved each other, and had children together, until on Jason discovers that he can marry a new wife and quickly become king, “When I Came here from Iolcus as a stateless exile, dogged And thwarted by misfortunes-why, what luckier chance Could I have met, the marriage with the King’s daughter” (Euripides 33), Jason illustrates the normal role of how a married man should act (Steele, David). He tells Medea that he will make her become a maid in his palace because he is in charge and knows what is best for her. This directly relates to A Doll’s House when Ibsen also uses the archetypes of marriage to show how a man dominates over a women and makes the decisions in the household (Drake, David B). “Free from care! To be able to be free from care, quite free from care; to be able to play and romp with the children; to be able to keep the house beautifully and have everything just as Torvald likes it!” (Ibsen 15). Nora is having a conversation with Christine Lind, and she tells her by the new year she will be free from her debt, and will be able to become a traditional wife, and mother, by taking care of the house and caring for the family. Nora was expected to be a perfect wife, or a “doll” to Torvald and live her life to make him happy. This gender role of being the perfect wife, and mother was heavily placed upon women in ancient Greece and Norway, “With the exception of ancient Sparta, Greek women had very limited freedom outside the home... Their job was to run the house and to bear children”(Culture of Greece), this influenced marriage to be a perfect lie, and be about serving husbands rather then love. The society of Greece placed a heavy weight on women, which Euripides exemplifies through Medea’s motives when she gets banished along with her children by Creon, while Jason is permitted to stay. The shock of Jason’s betrayal of deserting her and loving another woman for his personal benefit sparks Medea’s rage and hatred towards Jason, “Oh, may I see Jason and his bride Ground to pieces in their shattered palace For the wrong they have dared to do to me, unprovoked!” (Euripides 22), Medea is asking for the gods to help strike down her husband, Medea’s rage fuels her to do atrocious and implicit actions towards Jason. Now all she can do is contemplate of how to get revenge, which guides her to get the idea to murder Jason’s soon to be wife. Medea’s motive of rancor directs her to commit a horrendous act of killing her own children in order to hurt Jason, and feel the benefits of getting revenge on Jason. Medea is incredibly blinded by her revenge...
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