By Reo Zukoshi
Topic: The effect of egocentrism in “A Doll’s House” and “Antegone” and its effect on their relationships and the characters themselves.
The two word literatures: “A Doll’s house” by Henrik Ibsen and “Antegone” by Sophocleus, have both portrayed how the character’s egocentrism contributes to the tragic ending. The types or the role of each character are different, but they both have the same egocentrism: Helmer from “A doll’s house” and King Creon from”Antegone”. Helmer personally thinks that whatever he does is taken as the highest priority; he even calls his wife, Nora, as animal. Creon, because he is the king of his own empire, he is full of hubris and he, like Helmer, takes all of his actions as the highest priority. However, considering their similarities, their egocentrism affect both of them differently, albeit they have the same ending of losing their family. This shows that both of these characters have a number of similarities and differences based on their egocentrism. Helmer has a variety of characteristics, which makes him egocentric. His egotistical character has made him lose his precious wife, Nora. Helmer has never considered his wife, Nora, an equal being because he thinks that he has higher priority than in social ranking than an ordinary person. “ And I wouldn’t want you to be any different from what you are- just my sweet little songbird” (15). It can be seen from this quotation that Helmer is the master and Nora is his pet or semi-slave. Helmer, since he is the head of the family, thinks that he is the “law” and those who go against him will be punished. “ And worst of all, telling me a lie!” (177). By considering his expressions, it is obvious that Helmer thinks himself to be a god-like being of the family and in fact he is not. Helmer becomes indignant because Nora is “telling him a lie”; like telling the God a lie, Helmer believes that no one shall tell a lie to him. Helmer also expresses his egocentric character, which makes him ridiculous, by saying the good part of himself. “ Oh I’m not so hard-hearted that I’d condemn a man outright for just a single slip” (79), and “ Wasn’t that a good idea of mine?” (186). It is very obvious from the above quotations that Helmer is a type of man who cannot help himself from saying his good points, which eventually causes his relationship deteriorate. In addition to that, Helmer cannot consider ideas steadfastly and this leads to the loss of Nora. “ My dear Nora, I can forgive you anxiety though its rather insulting to me” (189). Because he is egocentric, he considers things negatively rather than positively. The above characteristics of Helmer have led to the consequence of Nora leaving the house.
In act three of the play, it can be seen that the characteristics of Helmer changes with his mood. That is why he takes action without the consideration of the outcome of what he has done. “ I could risk everything I had- even my life itself to save you” (219). Before the climax of the play, Helmer is expressing his love to Nora, which made her bit comfortable. However, when the letter, written by Krogstad arrived, he turns into a different person. “ For these last eight years you’ve been my joy and my pride- and now I find that you’re a liar, a hypocrite- even worse- a criminal!” (220-221). In addition to the above quotation, Helmer is also expressing his egocentrism, along with his indignation, to Nora. “ You’ve completely wrecked my happiness, you’ve ruined my whole future” (221). Because he was only concerning himself and covered with emotions, he begins to thrash Nora with the above quotation. “ And I brought so pitifully low all because of a shiftless woman. The above quotation is contradicting to what he has just said before thrashing Nora. This is because he is self centered and can think of nothing but him. “ And after I’ve cherished you all through our married life. Now do you realize what you’ve done to me?”...