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Women in Society

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 6 (1375 words)
Categories: Gender, Marriage, Society, Women
Downloads: 13
Views: 7

Gender roles play an important role in our society whether it is for the better or the worse. Our society either keeps evolving or changing in the name of “Progressive thinking”. Changing from good to bad or bad to good. Society has always given a tough time especially to women. Keeping them restricted and barred in behind the white picket fence trying to create the “perfect” family. It has taken women many sacrifices to be able to stand on the same pedestal as men.

History is mostly written and perceived through a patriarchal view. Providing females with a script where it challenges the audiences and their views of women. Intriguing us with the complexity of the gender roles and events that occurred throughout the play. In Plays like “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen and Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” we can depict the different lives of two married women and how they pushed past their barriers in society.

In “Trifles” the play revolves around a murder mystery of Mrs. Wrights husband. Mrs. Wright who is at the center of attention and center of investigation, she is portrayed through two complimentary characters, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. The play is built around the conversation of these two rural women trying to figure out if Mrs. Wrights has committed the murder of her husband. A play where these women strike against their gender roles in their societies by either murdering or suppressing evidence about the murder from their husbands. On the other hand, we have Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”. In this play, we have the female lead, Nora who has had accepted her role in society. Being a mother of 3 beautiful children and the loving wife of Torvald. She is always dependent on her husband, accepting his thoughts and actions as hers. Allowing him to run her around as a “doll”. However, being the perfect wife cost her a serious debt. She committed an act of distrust by keeping a secret of forgery.

Throughout the plays, the women are seen to be sweet housewives, who keep along their business and are dependent upon their husbands. For instance, in “A Doll’s House”, in order to stay as the average normal “housewife” Nora keeps on lying to her husband. Trying to preserve the peace in her marriage, she continues to let Torvald to think of her as his “spendthrift” (Ibsen). When comparing the two plays, it’s interesting when it comes to both women, they were described similarly. Torvald expresses his affection towards Nora addressing her as a “lark” (Ibsen 1259). Whereas for Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Hale states that Mrs. Wright “was kind of a bird herself” (Glaspell 1054). Even though they may seem irrelevant and innocent remarks, later the dark truth comes about. When it came to women during that time period, they were trapped inside their gender roles like as when birds are barred inside of a cage.

Where there only purpose in life for women is to take care of their children and husbands. Being dependent on their husbands for being the breadwinner. We also discover this same theme in “Trifles”, when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters come across a canary that is found strangled by Mr. Wright and its dead body sewn in the pocket of a quilt. Similarly, Mrs. Wright was being strangled in her marriage. Her free spirit and happiness were strangled and thrown away in order to be the perfect wife and to fit in her house as other women in her society. Nonetheless, when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters were describing Mrs. Wright, they perceived her as a woman who once wanted to happily to be that perfect women who was seen by the society. She wanted to be happy, have children and be a good wife, but Mr. Wrights cold and undelightful soul crushed her dreams causing her to become miserable and unhappy.

The final straw had broken when Mr. Wright had taken her canary and wrung its neck, leading Mrs. Wright to do the same to him. While Mrs. Wright had ended up taking thing in her hands, Nora decided to become free herself out her cage and fly. Nora’s character was perceived to be very complex. She begins out as a housewife who loves her husband and children dearly to the point where she always takes care of them and spoils them with things. Until she lashes out against the role she was given in the society and she decides to leaver her family. She wanted to focus on herself, her needs, and desires. Walking out on her family and abandoning her children. Nora decided to break free from being Torvalds “doll” in the perfect house. Nora realizes her marriage is not a bond between two people but more like a duty of hers that she needs to keep. Nora was challenged, causing a harmless woman to break tradition and to step outside her boundaries.

Moreover, it wasn’t only Nora’s actions which challenged gender dynamics, it was also of other complimentary characters. Where the gender roles had been reversed and the woman played a typical man’s role in society. Kristine, Nora’s friend who sacrificed her life by marrying someone who she hadn’t loved for the sake of her family. She was pressured under societal views thinking if she married a rich man, she would be able to take care of her mother and siblings.

Where later she became a divorcee and a hardworking independent woman. She proved herself of taking care of her own problems and not being dependent on a man. Kristine later had replaced Krogstad and took over his position in the bank where Torvald was the manager. Krogstad was originally the one who was in love with Kristine until she chose to marry another man for her family’s needs. Krogstad had stepped back agreeing to her choices. He portrayed that he was not the typical man seen in society, he was not the one who had the ability of taking care of Kristine and her family at the time. Furthermore, returning to “Trifles”, the two friends of Mrs. Wright take on the roles of being a detective and investigate the murder.

Uncovering small details left by Mrs. Wright, they start putting the pieces of past events, unraveling the truth. Realizing little details such as “how the quilt is strangely knotted” (Glaspell), or how there is a broken bird cage in the house with no bird inside. Instead of the Court attorney and the Sheriff uncovering the truth, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters put together the evidence. The gender roles in this play were well reversed as well where the people who were originally supposed to figure out the events, were not able to find any clues. Instead, the women who came to acquire the trinkets and take care of Mrs. Wrights preserved fruits put the pieces together. Similar to when Nora hid the truth in “Trifles”, Mrs. Hale and Peters also hide the truth from the Sheriff and Court attorney. These actions of these women keep challenging the gender roles, where women take over the duties of the men.

The ending of both plays leaves us on the edge of our seats, however it convinces the audiences on the gender roles. In the end of “A Doll’s House’, Henrik Ibsen leaves us with the sound of the door closing. From below is heard the reverberation of a heavy door closing” (Ibsen). Leaving us wonder where she had gone and what she was planning to do with her life afterwards. Also, in “Trifles”, the play ends on the note of the women telling the men about the quilt being knotted before leaving the house. “We call it knot it, Mr. Henderson” (Glaspell). We don’t know if Mrs. Wright was ever convicted and if the wives ever told the Sheriff or the Court attorney of what they discovered. The two playwrights leave the readers believing that the two women encounter success in the future. Allowing societies views to change about women’s rights and gender conventions. How women shouldn’t be just caged in and expected to only take care of their families. Leading to create an equal stage for both women and men in the eyes of society.

Cite this essay

Women in Society. (2019, Dec 08). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/women-in-society-essay

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