Henrik Ibsen

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Ibsen often stated that his work and characters really represented human beings that he knew. In a speech to the Christian students in 1874 he stated... "All I have written... I have mentally lived through. I have also written on the opposite, on that which to introspective contemplation appears as the dregs and sediments of one's own nature" (Gallienne, XXVIII). A Doll's House and Hedda Gabbler[...]
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Ibsen often stated that his work and characters really represented human beings that he knew. In a speech to the Christian students in 1874 he stated... "All I have written... I have mentally lived through. I have also written on the opposite, on that which to introspective contemplation appears as the dregs and sediments of one's own nature" (Gallienne, XXVIII). A Doll's House and Hedda Gabbler both were written with an internal motive to explore personalities within a social context.Ibsen consistently denied the accuracy of being labeled a feminist, he was definitely sympathetic to the womens' rights issues.

In Norway, Ibsen witnessed the development of a woman's movement in the 1880's. It was financially necessary to be middle class and to provide for a daughter who was not married. Women, at that time, were barred from receiving an education or any dignified employment. In 1884, Ibsen petitioned the government to demand that married women be allowed to earnings and property. At the time, the only passions a woman was to have were to love her children, home, and domestic duties. A woman was to teach her daughters to carry on her path and not to try and go above the pecking order.

Ibsen's plays expressed the struggles of people to bring their lives into harmony with their convictions. It was important to Ibsen that women achieve a balance between self and individuality. One's personal identity as apposed to animality was displayed by overcoming obstacles which prevented the individual's development. Usually that which constitutes individualism causes one to be at odds with what would be expected by society.

Raymond Williams, in Drama from Ibsen to Brecht states that Ibsen's individuals " are caught between being absolutely fulfilled and being allowed to break their barriers." (Zeineddine, 9) The sole battle is not to determine a women's independence, but wether one has the courage to cross the barriers of society's norms. Ibsen stated that "A maker in modern society, like certain insects, retires and dies once she has done her duty by propagating the race." (Zeineddine 10)
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