Honor in marriage is a state of holding supreme levels of respect and self-respect for one self and one another. Honor is earned through esteemed behaviour, benevolent and just conduct, courage and integrity. In both “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen and Medea by Euripides, the author shows the significance of honor in marriage and how the lack of it jeopardizes a relationship. The positive and negative role of honor is similar in both pieces of literature which is depicted through Medea and Nora’s sacrificial actions, Torvald and Jason’s use of wives as subsidiary “objects” for their own self interest, and the consequences that alter both Nora and Torvald’s and Medea and Jason’s relationship with their children. Medea and Nora mutually share a traditional outlook on marriage. They believe in sacrifice and enduring anything to protect and honor their spouse’s reputation or life. The situations of both characters hold similar to each other because both wives risk everything, their own honor and dignity, to uphold the respect that is required in a marriage. In the play Medea, in order for Jason to retrieve the Golden Fleece, he needs Medea’s assistance to complete his conquest. Medea willingly kills her own father and brother to show her commitment to her marriage vows of protecting her husband. She regrets the sacrifices she makes because “[She][herself] betrayed [her] father and [her] home, and came with [him] to Pelias’ land of Iolcus” (Euripides, l 483-484), and in return Jason left her to suffer. Medea proves her love to Jason when she goes to the extreme of killing her family members and ruins her own reputation in her mother land. With Medea’s “heart on fire with passionate love for Jason” (l 8) she thinks giving Jason her everything was the right thing to do but now that she is suffering in Jason’s land, she realizes her wrongs. Medea carries her marriage vows solemnly because she believes “this is indeed the greatest salvation of all--/ for the wife not to...
Cited: a) Euripides. The Medea. Trans: Rex Warner
b) Ibsen, Henrik “A Doll’s House” in A Doll’s House and Other Plays. Trans: Peter, Watt London: Penguin Boks Ltd., 1965.
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