Nineteenth Century Changing Position Of Women English Literature Essay

Two literary plants, both released in the Nineteenth Century, portray strongly contrasting subjects and supporters. The chief thought of this research essay was to analyze how the altering place of adult females in the Nineteenth Century is reflected in ‘Pride and Prejudice ‘ by Jane Austen and ‘A Doll ‘s House ‘ by Henrik Ibsen. The literary plants are merely 70 old ages apart, yet society ‘s positions changed so drastically in those 70 old ages. When Pride and Prejudice was published, matrimony was the ultimate. All that was spoken of was marriage and how to achieve it. When A Doll ‘s House was published, adult females ‘s rights were get downing to go more of import in society. Of class, even so, there were still some old fashioned heads. Torvald Helmer was the prototype of what Ibsen disapproved of. As many people analysed, Ibsen wrote this drama to do the universe move frontward quicker. It is unknown whether or non his drama really made a immense impact ; nevertheless, adult females ‘s place in society has changed drastically since.

Even between the two publications, there was a dramatic alteration. Nora Helmer was an implausible character to Jane Austen. By the clip Ibsen had his drama performed, adult females were get downing to believe independently and seek ego. Austen and Ibsen had different point of views of the society they lived in. Austen agreed with the basic construction of society, but wished that adult females would populate life more than they did. Elizabeth was a adult female whom Austen wished all adult females were similar. Ibsen criticised his society. He wanted things to alter – and alter rapidly. He created a courageous adult female, in order for that to go on. Both literary pieces survived therefore far because of the illustriousness of their literary virtue – 1 as a twinkle templet for romantic comedies, the other a aggressively drawn socially realistic portraiture.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and A Doll ‘s House by Henrik Ibsen can be regarded as landmark literary statements about the lives and societal places of adult females.

Austen ‘s authoritative novel, published in 1813, depicts a snapshot of elect English society where immature adult females and work forces looked thirstily towards matrimony ; the decision of her romantic-comedy was a celebratory juncture as the chief characters were bound in wed-lock. Writing 70 old ages subsequently, Ibsen illustrated strongly contrasting subjects to these.

The brief period in history between 1813 and 1879 witnessed huge alterations in the nature of European society that, in many ways, transformed traditional relationships.

It is non the topic of this essay to account for the sweeping effects of modernization and democratization that took portion between the Hagiographas of Austen and Ibsen. This essay will instead seek to analyze each work to, as it were, set up literary ‘book-ends ‘ that present the values, which existed at each phase.

Two authors, both holding existed in the same century, with wholly different attitudes as to how the universe should be seen, in the eyes of a adult female. Jane Austen believed it merely natural for matrimony to be on a immature lady ‘s head. Henrik Ibsen, nevertheless, thought it inappropriate to demo matrimony as ever being the ultimate ; the traditional fate. Ibsen depicted adult females as independent or, at the really least, seeking independency. He succeeded when trying to portray adult females as more than hopeless ladies whose life ends were to be married. Both are wholly conflicting narratives ; both are improbably successful.

Elizabeth Bennet compared to Nora Helmer

Elizabeth Bennet lives with her female parent who pesters her five girls about matrimony. Elizabeth is a adult female in the times when matrimony and wealth was what a adult female was expected to want. She accepted the matrimony thought evident in the society. However, she did non believe in engaging herself to person she is incompatible with. Elizabeth is a alone adult female ; she is rational and attentions for more than money and ownerships. She still wants to get married – but marry person with the same head as her ain. This is apparent when she rejects Mr. Collins, a financially stable immature adult male. “ You could non do me happy, and I am positive that I am the last adult female in the universe who would do you so, ”[ 1 ]Elizabeth ensures him as he proposes. They are non likewise ; therefore she could non get married him, for all the money in the universe. If she did, she would hold to be wedded to him for life in wretchedness. Separation was ne’er a considered option. Hence, if you wed person, it would be infinity. That is why Mr. and Mrs. Bennet stayed together until now. They are non a suited lucifer. Mr. Bennet mocks his married woman. He is an rational who married for young person and beauty. Yet, she could non go forth him because divorce was considered an act of ungratefulness, on the adult female ‘s portion. Compatibility was non a common idea when contemplating matrimony. Economic security was all that was regarded. That is why Charlotte Lucas does non waver before accepting Mr. Collins ‘ matrimony proposal. She needs economic protection. Consequently, Elizabeth understands well-suited matrimonies. She wants person she can pass the remainder of her life with without sorrow. Marriage is what she wants but it is n’t the matrimony her female parent or society would of all time understand.

Nora Helmer is introduced as a married adult female populating an seemingly content life in a metropolis flat. She explains to her friend Mrs. Linde that she ‘s “ been so happy these last eight old ages ”[ 2 ]populating with Torvald and in comparing to Mrs. Linde ‘s life, this seems extremely likely. Nora is well-groomed, populating in a comfy flat with delicious kids and a loving hubby. Although she experienced a procedure of taking increasing fiscal duty and making everything in her power to back up her hubby ‘s hyperbolic self-concept, she is profoundly aghast and shaken by Torvald ‘s selfish haughtiness when her illegal activities are exposed. In the beginning, she did non gain that Torvald and she “ ne’er exchanged a serious word on any serious topic. ”[ 3 ]Nora was populating the ‘dream ; ‘ everything was developing absolutely for her. However, one time Torvald reveals his true ego, she realises that populating with him is non the manner she wants to populate. He is everything that is keeping her dorsum. There is so much to see in the universe ; so much to larn about ; and here she is, populating in a doll ‘s house, confined to a town that is non broad plenty, nor exciting plenty, for her head. Finally, she leaves her blue life, to populate her ain life, to larn new things, to go to put she ‘s merely of all time heard of. She wants to see life, as she ne’er had before and she could non make that whilst populating under the same roof as Torvald Helmer.

Both these adult females are of great deepness and involvement. Both Elizabeth and Nora have different ideas to the normal flow of their milieus. Elizabeth rejected the matrimony the society endorsed – matrimony for economic security – unusual as it was in her clip. Nora did non fancy being imprisoned in a place, which offered no exhilaration and no acquisition chances. Both characters are similar in that they both went against the usual class of those around them. However, they are different in the things they wanted finally. Elizabeth sought after get marrieding person similar to her. Nora desired to larn more about the universe and herself earlier perpetrating to anything more. Pride and Prejudice concludes with Elizabeth and Jane Bennett observing their matrimonies to compatible hubbies. A Doll ‘s House, on the other manus, ends with Nora walking to the universe, ready to encompass whatever the universe has to offer. In less than 70 old ages, the narratives written about adult females and their place changed drastically. Womans were get downing to be seen as more capable, more equal. Marriage was no longer the individual idea busying their heads. After all, it is n’t that adult females urgently want to get married – the society and the state of affairs society put them in merely made it look that manner and by the clip Henrik Ibsen wrote his drama, those types of ideas were get downing to hesitate.

Torvald Helmer compared to Nils Krogstad and Dr. Rank

Torvald Helmer believes in peculiar places for work forces and adult females. He does non O.K. of the idea that adult females should hold the same position in society as work forces do. Torvald Helmer is stuck in times of male laterality. He sees himself as the leader, the individual in charge. He provides for his household – that ‘s his occupation. If his married woman were to get down supplying besides, the universe would hold turned inverted. He is a traditional adult male with an out-of-date manner of thought, populating in a society, which is quickly altering.

In A Doll ‘s House there are two other male characters whose manner of thought is undeniably altering with the society. Nils Krogstad and Dr. Rank both believe in equality of the sexes. Ibsen created these two characters as a contrast to Torvald. Both Krogstad and Rank have different positions. Krogstad is absolutely all right with the thought of Ms. Linde working to supply for their household. “ When I lost you, it was merely as if the really land had given manner under my pess. Expression at me now – a shipwrecked adult male cleaving to a spar. ”[ 4 ]He besides strongly believes he needs her in his life to experience complete. Torvald is his ain individual. Even though he loved Nora, he did non link with her on any other land than the fact that she was his married woman and the female parent of his kids. Without Kristina, Krogstad fell apart ; he had nil.

Furthermore, when Rank enters the place intending to see Torvald, he does non go forth when he learns he is busy. Rather, he sits with Nora and converses with her, as he would with any male. “ In less than a month, possibly, I shall lie decomposing in the God’s acre. ”[ 5 ]Rank discusses affairs of earnestness with Nora, whilst Torvald does non. Torvald ne’er one time had a serious conversation with her, which proves how small he thought of the supposed nonpartisanship between them. It is clear that Rank has a head like the switching society compared to the head of Torvald, which is clearly non traveling forwards.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy compared to Mr. Charles Bingley

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Mr. Charles Bingley of Pride and Prejudice both have distinct positions on the thoughts that their society lives on. Both ain really big lucks – the former somewhat wealthier than the latter. The two are the closest associates ; nevertheless, their positions could non be more dissimilar.

Chiefly, they are different in what they want finally. Of class, as was the tradition, they each want to get married ; nevertheless, Mr. Bingley is non so finical with who his hereafter bride is to be. He is much quicker to label a adult female as ‘accomplished ‘ besides, which adds to the differing positions of him and his friend. “ It is astonishing to me how immature ladies can hold forbearance to be so really complete, as they all are, ”[ 6 ]quotation marks Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy, of class, scolds him for believing such a thing. Mr. Darcy clearly disagrees. After depicting an complete adult female, Mr. Bingley listens to Mr. Darcy ‘s words, “ All this she must possess and to all this she must yet add something more significant, in the betterment of her head by extended reading. ”[ 7 ]To the reader, it is obvious that Mr. Darcy, deliberately or non, is depicting Elizabeth Bennet as accomplished.

When the work forces choose their married womans, it is even more apparent what their positions on adult females are. Mr. Bingley chooses Jane for her unmistakable beauty and sort nature. His fondness for her is non based on an intelligent head or extended reader. Mr. Darcy, on the other manus, favor Elizabeth. Although she is non so fine-looking as Jane, her head is more developed. She takes pleasance in reading and rational treatments. By fall ining Mr. Darcy with Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley with Jane in marriage in the terminal of the novel, it is clear what Austen wants the reader to larn: get married person you are compatible with. Although Mr. Bingley marries Jane for her attraction, their matrimony is compatible because each is sort natured and good spirited. The two are non intellectuals, like Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. In fact, they are rather the antonym, yet their matrimony still works. When comparing the two chief work forces of this novel, it is possible to state that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are the male opposite numbers to Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, which opens a window to their future relationships. As readers, it is easy to presume that their matrimonies are likewise happy, because they married adult females whom are like themselves.

Work in the Nineteenth Century

In Pride and Prejudice, the Bennets ‘ are gentleman ‘s girls, therefore they are non expected to work – or have any involvement in working. Even the description of an complete adult female does non include any work experience. Comparing this with Ibsen ‘s drama, it is apparent how different the places of adult females are. Nora wants to work and feels accomplished when she does.

The altering place of adult females is made clear as clip continued from so. Women became more and more outstanding in the working industry. In the beginning of A Doll ‘s House, it seems that the times have non changed plenty when Kristina states, “ A married woman ca n’t borrow without her hubby ‘s consent. ”[ 8 ]From this statement, it gives the feeling that the society Nora is populating in is merely like the society Elizabeth Bennet was populating in, where work forces dominated in all countries. Nora besides states, “ I was lucky plenty to acquire a batch of copying to make. ”[ 9 ]This line proposes it was untypical for adult females who were of in-between and upper categories to work.

However, as the drama develops, it is clear that what is genuinely sought after is independency. “ It was enormous merriment sitting at that place working and gaining money. It was about like being a adult male. ”[ 10 ]Nora reveals to Kristina that the three most gratifying hebdomads she ‘s of all time experienced were the three that had her working. Of class, Kristina knows precisely what experiencing she is mentioning to, as is exposed when she explains, “ All my life, every bit long as I can retrieve, I ‘ve worked – that ‘s been my one great joy. ”[ 11 ]Obviously, Nora and Kristina are members of a freshly emerging professional in-between category ; that is, adult females were get downing to be noticed in the professional territory of society. Gone was the English society that encompassed everything Elizabeth Bennett knew. In its topographic point was a more urbanized civilization that would go on to alter and regenerate itself.

Writer ‘s Purpose

As authors, both Austen and Ibsen had distinguishable intents for their publications. When reading their plants, it is clear to many that each wanted to promote the populace to face their society. Austen did hold with her society, basically. She approved of matrimony but wanted the ground for matrimony to alter. Ibsen, though, promoted adult females ‘s independency and ensured his audience went off with new thoughts about the equality between the sexes.

In the early Nineteenth Century, adult females were rather restricted. They could non vote, could non prosecute in many legal issues, particularly those in tribunal and even had limited control over personal belongings once they became person ‘s married woman. Womans were expected to be inferior to their male parents and hubbies. They did non hold many occupational picks – unless they wanted to work as domestic retainers or laborers. However, with the oncoming of industrialisation and the growing of the market economic system, things began to alter. Women ‘s hereafter was looking bright. They were voicing their sentiments in the signifiers of literacy and political relations. Womans were given the right to vote, in certain topographic points of the universe. Peoples were going far more informed and open-mindedness was supported. Pride and Prejudice and A Doll ‘s House sat at either side of this drastic universe alteration. If positions on adult females were non altering, Ibsen would ne’er hold been able to make a adult female weather adequate to dispute society.

Even though Pride and Prejudice was an highly entertaining piece of literature, Jane Austen ‘s well-thought-of values shone brilliantly through the words on the page. One of the indispensable values that were presented was the thought that get marrieding for safety, alternatively of suitableness, was ne’er the right pick. Even though both Jane and Elizabeth married affluent work forces, their motivation was more the like-mindedness they shared with their spouses. They married for the of import fact that they connected on a higher degree than the fortune their spouses owned.

In the times when Austen published this novel, the thought of Elizabeth and Jane were non glorified. Austen took this to her advantage and publicised rational thought and brought compatibility into relationships. Other than the eldest Bennets ‘ , the characters chiefly consider get marrieding for support more than anything else. Naturally, Austen disapproved of inappropriate marital lucifers. By making a character like Elizabeth, the audience could understand that she found it instead improper for ill-suited work forces and adult females to marry.

However, Austen did n’t wholly disapprove of adult females get marrieding for money. She understood that there are certain fortunes, which can non be avoided. She wrote about Charlotte Lucas, who was a girl uncertain of her economic hereafter. She married Mr. Collins for his evident wealth and the belief that she would be financially unafraid with him as a hubby. Although she understood her unsure fiscal position, Austen used this appraisal to her benefit. Charlotte and Mr. Collins ‘ matrimony became one of comfort, non one of love and fondness. Austen did non bury to remind the reader that their matrimony was anything but successful because of their ground for matrimony. She besides disapproved of matrimony based entirely on attractive force, as was Mr. and Mrs. Bennet ‘s relationship. “ Her male parent captivated by young person and beauty, and that visual aspect of good temper, which young person and beauty by and large give, had married a adult female whose weak apprehension and broad head, had really early in their matrimony put an terminal to all existent fondness for her. ”[ 12 ]Their matrimony was all that Austen was against.

She satirises both Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins, overstating their characters. She portrays Mr. Collins as a affluent adult male, so despairing he will get married any adult female and will travel to any lengths to affect Lady Catherine. Mrs. Bennet is the chief comedian of the novel, particularly with her often mocking hubby. She wants her girls to get married so desperately, she about swoons when Elizabeth rejects the grandiloquent Mr. Collins. These two characters, Austen created to contrast against all that Elizabeth disliked.

Austen ‘s chief intent for organizing a character like Elizabeth was to make an example for adult females to follow. She had a strong character and her pride was plenty to support herself. “ You are non entitled to cognize my ( concerns ) ; nor will such behavior as this, of all time bring on me to be expressed, ”[ 13 ]Elizabeth elucidates to Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Not even her ‘superior ‘ Ladyship intimidates her for she is a adult female who understands her place in life. Another feature of hers that Austen wanted adult females to notice was the fact that she rejected Mr. Collins, whilst he was in ownership of a big luck. Austen wanted this thought relayed to the readers: make non settle for wealths. Elizabeth is most decidedly the heroine of the novel and, even though she has to travel through defects, she proves to be a adult female of her epoch that modern adult females can look up to.

In the terminal, what could be said about Austen ‘s intent to compose this blithe novel is that she meant great things for it. She wrote to propose that it would be better for adult females if they did non settle for a adult male who seems as though he will non do them happy. She was non knocking society. Rather, she was seeking to stretch the line a small – she attempted to alter the manner a adult female ‘s life had to be ; and she succeeded, because merely seventy old ages subsequently, A Doll ‘s House was performed.

Henrik Ibsen wrote his drama in a clip when adult females ‘s rights were get downing to go noticed. Women ‘s right to independence played a brilliant function in Ibsen ‘s A Doll ‘s House. That is basically what he was constructing towards, right from the beginning of the drama. The full intent for his authorship of this drama was to relay the message that adult females should get down believing for themselves. He wanted adult females to believe they could do it on their ain ; that they did non necessitate a adult male to assist them along the manner. He did non accept the manner society was and wanted it to alter more. Austen agreed with the building of society but wanted life to be lived to the fullest extent, while staying in the construction. Ibsen, nevertheless, wholly disagreed with the restricting system and criticized it plenty to compose a drama, which hoped to alter the audiences ‘ positions on adult females and their rights.

Henrik Ibsen wrote this drama non 70 old ages after Jane Austen wrote her novel. Immediately as the first few pages are read, it is rather obvious that Ibsen is looking in to the hereafter. His building of Nora is extraordinary. Interestingly, Nora Helmer is a wholly impossible character for Jane Austen. Never would Austen believe a adult female could go forth her hubby to larn more about herself and the universe. Although she stretched the boundaries of her society, Austen could n’t conceive of a adult female traveling to such lengths as these. Nora is an first-class theoretical account of what many adult females aspired to be in the late Nineteenth Century. The narratives speech production of happy matrimonies were easy get downing to run off to uncover less pretty images. Marriage was easy altering as the ultimate.

By using the usage of Kristina Linde, who worked and provided for her household for many old ages, Ibsen presented a adult female who represented the hereafter of the working adult female. Mrs. Linde learnt more about the complex universe she lived in. Obviously, it might hold worn her out ; nevertheless, she came out of it a more experient adult female who could take on anything and wanted to. She is a contrast to Nora, who Ibsen used to demo that a adult female who has been treated like a delicate porcelain doll for all her being will non cognize how to believe independently. During the class of the drama, Nora experiences a gradual realisation that her life was a shallow 1. She was so happy married to Torvald but shortly recognises that he is merely procuring her in his place – with nil to larn, no infinite to turn. His egoism awakens her to her true ego, whom she abandoned to be the married woman Torvald wanted her to be.

When Torvald displayed his condescension, Nora saw her life projected against his. They no longer had the same dream. They envisioned different hereafters. Ibsen used Nora ‘s character for the audience to understand that ne’er cognizing genuinely what the universe around you is approximately is something one should ne’er trust for. Even though Mrs. Linde was terribly weary, Ibsen convinced the audience that this should be the sought-after life.

In Pride and Prejudice, the society that Elizabeth Bennett lived in was non one which questioned a batch of things. They did non inquiry for fear their ideas and beliefs would be confused and proved incorrect. Desire to dispute society did non be in Austen ‘s Pride and Prejudice, unlike in A Doll ‘s House. Nora wanted to larn more about the society and universe she lived in. Elizabeth and the people she knew did non problem themselves with the personal businesss of the universe. In A Doll ‘s House Ibsen made it clear that Nora wanted to see as much of the universe as possible. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen merely wrote about the ceaseless pursuit to happen the right individual to get married. Whilst Austen showed that matrimony was what all adult females wanted finally, Ibsen showed that matrimony life could be restricting. Ibsen besides illustrated that traditional hubbies implement several limitations on their married womans, which finally denies the adult females the ability to turn, emotionally. Ibsen persuaded the audience that if a adult male did everything for his married woman and protected her, there is no possible manner she would turn into a more developed, more agreeable, more complete individual.


Two pieces of literature: different in intent but every bit great. Jane Austen lived in a different society to Henrik Ibsen. She agreed with the most portion of her society, except the grounds adult females married. In her novel, matrimony was still the ultimate but it was n’t the sort of marrying typically endorsed. Womans were expected to get married for security. Austen wanted to alter these thoughts and guarantee that adult females considered more than wealth when seeking for possible hubbies. Ibsen did non hold with his society. In fact, he wrote his drama in order to alter society. He wanted adult females ‘s places to alter. When Nora walks to the universe, it is a controversial shutting scene ; so controversial, in fact, that another stoping had to written. However, as clip went by and more public presentations were presented, Nora ‘s determination received hand clapping and cheers. Independence, from so on, was desired and that ‘s what Ibsen had hoped for. Both of these classics are fabulously written and the message is printed loud and clear in each. As the old ages go on, it is apparent that the altering place of adult females in the Nineteenth Century is reflected in ‘Pride and Prejudice ‘ by Jane Austen and ‘A Doll ‘s House ‘ by Henrik Ibsen.


Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. England: Penguin, 1996.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll ‘s House. England: Penguin, 1965

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