Discuss the manner in which the role of women in society is explored in 'A Doll's House, Mother Courage, and Top Girls. Any ideas on what key points to cover?
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One issue brought up in Ibsen's play is the way people self-identify.
Nora, in the end, determines to choose her own path to identity, to explore her personality and define herself for herself, breaking away from Helmer and her's father who historically gave her definition from "outside".
Mrs. Linde also determines her own identity, though hers is a socialized one. She internalizes the role of caretaker and seeks out opportunities to fulfull this role.
You might examine how each title explores the difficulty these women have in defining their own identities. For instance, in Ibsen's, Nora's identity is defined by the succession of men in her life, even Dr. Rank would define Nora in his own terms. In Brecht's, Mother Courage's identity is defined by the pressures between keeping the next generation (1) housed and fed and (2) protected and raised. In Churchill's, the women's identities are defined the differences between desire, or vision, and reality.
The relation of these three women with the world of business shows the gradual progress through two centuries. Nora' actions (forging her husband's signature) was technical illegal but saved the house's finances; Mother Courage made her own way in the chaos of war to provide for her children; Top Girls demonstrates the contributions that women make when they gain full entry into the free enterprise system. The theme, then, that ties these plays together is not merely the woman protagonists but also the progress the women made to their present state.
These three playwrights chronicle the development of women over one hundred years. They show how they pay a price for success and freedom, by losing their children. Nora walks on her three children, Mother Courage loses her children because she is puts her business before them, and Marlene gives up her child to rise in a man's world.
Churchill raises some interesting questions about the so called progress of women in a capitalistic western society. Where to from here?
I have selected these three plays, they are from different periods, different kinds of theatre, but I am not sure what key points I should cover in this 2000 word essay. They all deal with Feminist issues but I am wondering what specific points I should raise? any ideas would be most appreciated, as with three plays I know I should give equal weight to each one.
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