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Remorse and Hope for Triumph: A Woman’s Role

Hansberry and Ibsen create a sense of remorse for their female characters by exposing the inequality of society and daplaying egregious acts of disrespect through male characters. Though Hansberry and Ibsen present many interesting issues, the most thought provoking involve the ignoring, subjugation, and abuse of women. Ibsen’s protagonist, Nora, shifts to become the ideal mate and protector for her husband, Helmer. Through various methods she becomes an independent woman with marketable skills. Despite this growth, her husband refers to her as incapable and slow.

Though this view pervades the entirety of Ibsen’s play, a significant example comes in the opening act. Helmer, referring to Nora, states, “What a sweet featherbrain it is. But it swallows up so many pennies. It costs a lot of pennies, to keep a little featherbrain. ” Helmer infantilizes Nora and displays a high level of ignorance concerning her strengths. This same type of disrespect resounds in Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” and provides strong support for the remorse that the audience feels in regards to the female characters.

Hansberry shares this point of view in the first act of the play. Walter says, “We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds. ” Though Hansberry chooses to use different tactics, the message of incompetency remains the same. The conspicuous disrespect for women provides the audience with this same understanding. The description shows women as unintelligent and simple minded. This obvious ignorance becomes a huge problem that faces the society.

The only accurate interpretation shows that the male segment of society demands power and privilege that women are unable to find the same opportunity to enjoy it. Just as Helmer refuses to acknowledge Nora’s skills, Walter disregards the benefits that the women bring to his life. Through different content and characters, Hansberry and Ibsen provide a similar message. Women are unable to reach the same levels of respect that men enjoy without breaking through the walls of limitation.

In order to reach a pinnacle of success, a woman must engage in behavior that ignores the accepted standards of the day. The exposure to societal inequalities provides a basis for understanding this message of misbehavior and places the audience in a position of acceptance. Though instances of subjugation, ignoring, and abuse are seen, women’s eventual triumph becomes the hope of the audience. In this way, Ibsen and Hansberry find success in showing the inequalities of women and the certainty of rising above.

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