“The uncertain place of women in a culture, a nation, which they cannot fully call their own”
Explore the representation of female repression through marriage and motherhood in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and Plath’s selected poetry
For centuries, social convention has bound women to devote their lives to their husbands and homes, with a disregard for their individuality. Expected to sacrifice herself for the patriarch, a woman’s needs were completely repressed, considered subsidiary and inferior to her husband’s. The subordinate position of a woman rendered her dependant on the patriarch, leaving her social status unclear. Laura Marcus explores this notion in her description, “the uncertain place of women in a culture, a nation, which they cannot fully call their own”, illustrating a woman’s lack of proprietary rights. However, Ibsen questions this through his strong and independent female protagonist, Nora, who flouts convention, disregarding the instruction of her husband. Similarly, Plath’s gynocentric view and strong female voice continually questions the repression experienced by women within the home. Through their non-conformist representations of women, they highlight many of the issues faced by women at the time.