Compare and contrast the plays A Doll's House and Death of a Salesman.

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For different reasons, Nora Helmer and Willy Loman are both living a lie. Nora is supposed to be the perfect, middle-class wife—demure, child-like, and totally supportive of her husband. Yet beneath the surface, all's not well. Nora becomes deeply embroiled in the big old world outside on account of her complicity in an act of financial fraud. This forces her to take stock of her life and leads to her eventual realization that her marriage is a complete sham.

Willy Loman is living the lie that he's a hot-shot salesman; not only that, but a "well-liked man" to boot. Unlike Nora, however, he's unable to face up to the truth and actually do something to change his life. He remains trapped in his self-delusions right up until his tragic death. Society expects Willy to go out into the world like his late brother Ben and stake his claim; and that's precisely what he tries to do each day, without much success. Willy has internalized society's dominant values to such an extent that he can never...

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