Some novels and plays advocate changes in social and political attitudes or
in traditions. In Ibsen’s play A
Doll’s House, note briefly the particular attitudes or traditions that the author apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader’s or audience’s
views. AVOID PLOT SUMMARY!!!
During the Victorian Age in which A Doll’s House was written, women were viewed as the supporting figure in the
family, not only for her husband but also her children. Being the conscience
of the nation, they were to act selflessly in their duties in support of the family.
In an attempt to influence the reader’s beliefs about the role of women in the home and as wives, Ibsen uses
irony and characterization to express his idea of a woman as an individual who takes actions to benefit herself, and not solely
for the benefit of others.
From the beginning Ibsen sets to work establishing his views on women’s social position. In the first act, when the reader is first presented with Nora, Ibsen characterizes her as inferior to
men, in this case, her husband. Ibsen accomplishes this through situational and
verbal irony, Nora is presented as the perfect wife who can do no wrong, and who’s marriage is a perfect as Barbie and
Ken, and then Ibsen has Nora go behind her husband's back and scoffle down Macaroons, which she had been forbidden to do. Through these events, we see situational irony in that the perfect wife is not perfect
at all, and verbal irony in the fact that Torvald asks Nora about the Macaroons, knowing she has eaten some, but pretends
he believes her, and that she hasn’t. Ibsen is showing not only his beliefs
that the woman should be individuals, but also shows how a man should accept a woman’s actions of individuality.
Ibsen then follows with uses of dramatic irony, in which Helmer is unaware of his wife’s secret debt. Ibsen is showing us that, unlike in the case of the Macaroons, the actions taken by the wife without
her husband’s knowledge, actually prove to be beneficial, and in this case, life saving.
Husbands need to place more trust in their wives, not the other way around.
However, it is more than simply isolated events within the text that Ibsen uses, but the text as a whole. Nora is characterized throughout as an ideal extension of her husband’s desires while in his presence
and to outsiders, but alone Ibsen shows us her true self, which is very much different.
The text book is a large piece of dramatic irony between Nora and the reader who is led to recognize Nora as an individual,
but she does not realize it herself until the end of the play.
Through this intertwining of irony and characterization
of his characters, Ibsen forces the reader to recognize the woman with her own qualities, thoughts, and actions which justify
her as an individual who influences the husband, and is not so much a product of his influences.
Authors develop their characters using various types of devices. Choose one character from Act I of Othello. Analyze the techniques Shakespeare uses to develop this character, his purpose in doing so, and the effect
this has on the reader. NO PLOT SUMMARY.
Address and answer ALL parts of the prompt.
In Othello, Shakespeare uses a condescending tone, foreshadowing, and irony to develop Iago. He uses these
devices to show the reader that Iago is merely a manipulator and a liar, causing the reader to hate Iago because of how he
uses those who believe they are his friends.
Throughout Act I of Othello, Iago tricks Roderigo (who believes Iago is his friend) into believing that by giving Iago
money, Iago will be able to help Roderigo steal Desdemona away from Othello. Shakespeare
does this to establish Iago as a liar, because Iago truly could care less about whether or not Roderigo is happy, all he truly
cares about is gaining revenge against Othello. Iago's lies to Roderigo foreshadow
the fact that Roderigo ultimately will end up being hurt himself, either emotionally or physically, Shakespeare sets up Iago
to hurt Roderigo because the reader sympathizes with Roderigo, while most readers will immediately hate Iago for his lying
and manipulation. Iago is presented in this way because Othello passed him up
for a promotion and he wants revenge.
Hence, Shakespeare uses a condescending tone, foreshadowing, and irony to develop the character of Iago throughout
act I of Othello to show the reader that Iago is merely a manipulator and a liar, causing the reader to hate Iago because
he uses those who believe they are his friends.