Comparing Male Dominance In Porphyria's Lover And The Laboratory
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Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House (1879), Robert Browning’s poetry Porphyria’s Lover (1842) and The Laboratory (1845) all interpret the 19th century, focussing on the relationship between the individual and their societal ways of thinking. The texts explore the patriarchal dominance of the Victorian era as well as the conforming to society’s role of women of the 19th century. Through the exploration of these concerns A Doll’s House, Porphyria’s Lover and The Laboratory simultaneously reflect and criticise the values of the society in which each text was composed.
Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover reveals the patriarchal doctrine governing the 19th century to advocate that women should have the freedom to determine their lives, in reflecting the…show more content… Torvald is characterised through “whatever happens I’ll be strong enough, brave enough. I’m a man.” in which his male dominance is exemplified, demonstrating both his authority and patriarchal arrogance as he asserts his capacity to “carry the burden alone”. Ibsen is highly critical of the role women, illustrated through Torvald’s ‘‘All that beauty…all mine, mine alone-completely and utterly’’; a possessive verb which establishes his objectification of Nora. The subordinate nature of Nora accentuates the patronising tone Torvald uses referring to her as “featherbrain”, ’little lark’’ and ‘‘sulky squirrel’’; each symbolic of a creature wanting to escape from society’s constraints which enables Ibsen to affirm the patriarchal view of women. Therefore, through a comparative analysis of My Last Duchess and A Doll’s House, despite changes in context, the confrontation of a patriarchal society and it’s ideal of a bourgeois marriage mirror how composers and their texts are a reflection of the society they are created in, despite being…show more content… Women of the Victorian era were expected to conform to her husband by being subservient, expected to follow orders and dress conservatively. Ibsen’s critique of Nora’s adherence to society’s norms is evident when she needs Tovald’s advice on a trivial dress, “aha! So my obstinate little women is obliged to get someone to come to her rescue?” reflecting the social conventions of women’s incapability becoming a determinant on males’ decisions. The tarantella dance of Nora invokes arousal of Torvald saying his “Capri signorina” was a “roaring success” however Nora’s refusal to make love “Leave me, Torvald! Get way from me! I don't want all this” and Torvald’s reply “Aren’t I your husband” asserts Ibsen’s rebellion to fulfil societies expectations. In the final act, Nora’s remark “I must try to discover who is right, society or me” when leaving Torvald demonstrates her new perspective and set of values as Ibsen confronts the opposition towards society. Therefore, through a comparative analysis of The Laboratory and A Doll’s House, despite changes in context, the confrontation of the social ideologies of women during the Victorian time mirror how composers and their texts are a reflection of the society they are created in, despite being