A Character Comparison: Nora vs. Antigone

1909 words 8 pages
Ian Gidley
IB English I
May 17, 2005
World Literature Paper I
A Character Comparison: Nora Vs. Antigone

In the novels A Doll's House and Antigone, Ibsen and Sophocles respectively create two lead female characters, Nora and Antigone, who confront society's expectations of women in fundamentally different ways. Nora goes against the grain of middle class society by first forging her father's signature and then deceiving her husband, Torvald, throughout their marriage; Antigone, on the other hand, openly challenges and defies the rule of men, including her uncle and King of Thebes, Creon. Although Nora and Antigone share some comparable personality traits, like being strong willed and motivated, they confront the men in their lives
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In A Doll's House, Nora's initial intention is not to break the chains of society, but only to save her husband from death. Her naivety to the situation of a woman forging a man's signature is only revealed in her conversation with Krogstad. "Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realize clearly what it is that you have been guilty of." (24) During her conversation with Krogstad, Nora demonstrates her lack of knowledge of the law and the crime, which she has committed. "I don't know much about law; but I am certain that there must be laws permitting such things as that." (24) Instead of accepting the consequences of her forgery act, Nora continues her tirade of naivety by going as far as to accuse Krogstad of being a "very poor lawyer". (24) Nora's actions contrast somewhat with Antigone's; while Nora blames others, like Krogstad, for her incompetence and naivety, Antigone admits to her acts of treason (although she doesn't see them as treason), and somewhat like Nora, she accuses Creon of being a fool, "And if you judge me fool, perhaps it is because a fool is judge." (211) While Nora fails to admit to her crime, at least until the denouement of the play,