A Doll's House and Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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During the late nineteenth century, women were beginning to break out from the usual molds. Two authors from that time period wrote two separate but very similar pieces of literature. Henrik Ibsen wrote the play A Doll's House, and Thomas Hardy wrote Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Ibsen and Hardy both use the male characters to contrast with their female counterparts to illustrate how women are stronger by following their hearts instead of their minds.Ibsen uses Torvald, to depict a world where men choose to follow their minds in place of their hearts. Ibsen has Torvald believe that he is truly in love with his wife Nora. Torvald believes he will "risk my life's blood, and everything, for your sake."(63) The author sets the reader up to believe that Torvald is a chivalrous guy who would give life and limb to defend his true love, as the author believes that any real man would. Later in the play, a circumstance arises where he is given the opportunity to defend his wife. He does a 180 degree turn around and explains to his wife that "no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves."(71) The author shows the stupidity of Torvald with his misconception of honor. In actuality when a man sacrifices himself for the one he loves it brings him honor. Torvald is viewed as a true hypocrite. Torvald also believes the most important thing is to "save the . . . appearance."(65) He follows his mind, only interested in what is best for society. Ibsen illustrates him as a truly weak human. In contrast to Ibsen, Hardy takes an intellectually free thinker, Angel, who shows a very close minded perspective on events instead of opening himself to his true inner feelings. When Angel's bride reveals to him that she has committed the sin of pre-marital sex as did Angel, he begins to reveal to the reader his ignorance. In her sin, "forgiveness does not apply."(244) Angel's double standard shows the reader that sexism even existed in the free thinkers of the time period...
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