Comparing Freedom In The Flies And A Doll's House

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Michele Dalon Studies in Politics and Literature Political Science 4234 – Fall 2014
 Examination #1 – Question 3 The works of Henrik Ibsen and Jean Paul Sartre have parallels. In order to understand the relationship between Sartre and Ibsen, it is important to analyze these two works from an existential perspective. Both Ibsen and Sartre explore the notion of freedom. Specifically, there are strong themes of freedom in Sartre’s The Flies and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. In both plays, a focus is placed on how much a character is free to make his/her own choices and what choices he/she has. Although parallels are evident, the authors come to differing conclusions with respect to freedom. It can be argued that Ibsen’s perspective on the concept…show more content…
For this reason, it can be argued that Ibsen’s perspective on freedom is to be favored. Ibsen’s play poses religious and social questions, but the philosophical questions Sartre’s play raises are much more controversial. Sartre’s essays “On Existentialism” reject any notion of the solidarity of mankind. Also, his beliefs reject any claim of a “universal morality” or “universal truths.” Every man is righteous in acting according to his own self-interests. The only constraint on man’s behavior is his own belief of whether or not his actions are just. No man has the right to claim that another man is acting wrong. This is a pessimistic view that allows for heinous crimes, such as matricide, without any real consequence. Sartre also ejects any idea of a higher power, or god(s). Some societies base their culture according to the laws of a higher power. These societies embrace values such as kinship and tradition. Most people try to devote themselves to a purpose bigger than themselves. Sartre’s beliefs can discourage people from taking action. Self-interest cannot stand on alone. A human being that only pursues self-interest will be lacking in morality or freedom. Self-interest must be related with duty and sacrifice for the greater good. Some critics believe that Ibsen’s piece was simply about women’s rights. However, it could be reasoned that Ibsen had no intentions for A Doll’s House to relate to women’s rights, and so it is not. Instead, the play is relevant because of themes of individuality and freedom. However, it could be possible for Nora to find freedom without leaving her home and family. Both Ibsen and Sartre’s works leave room for improvements, but they give readers a new, and somewhat radical, definition for the word

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