A Doll's House and the House of Bernarda Alba Essay
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Federico Garcia Lorca's “The House of Bernarda Alba” and Henrik Ibsen's “A Doll's House” both protest against the confinement of women of their days. Although the Houses are set differently in Spain of 20th century and Norway of 19th century respectively, both the plays relate in illuminating their respective female protagonists, Adela and Nora, as they eventually develop a sense of individuality and self-expression and emerge as free individuals from repression. The authors’ attempts allow the reader audience to gain an insight into the social norms that each protagonist was pitted against. This heightens the tension as the action develops.
Both Adela and Nora are inherently individualistic, and their innate nature is bared especially…show more content…
(Lorca 142) Likewise, Nora of Doll’s House assumes the mask of her husband Torvald’s “pretty little thing” (Ibsen 22), a “little squirrel” (Ibsen 46), and a submissive “dolly-wife.” (Ibsen 82) She does so because Torvald expects her to accept that he is right in not indulging her “little whims” (Ibsen 21) and expects her to see her “dancing” and “reciting” (Ibsen 22) as per his wishes – he expects her to be a doll under his control. So, she finds “a way [herself]” (Ibsen 21) – the way of deception – to follow her own heart.
The revelation of the secrets Nora and Adela keep marks the end of their deception and thus stimulates them to stand up against repression and express their individual selves, guiding them to seek freedom. Nora’s loan and forgery are kept secret from her husband, because otherwise it would be revealed that Nora did not submit to his orders and seek his permission before any action – behaviour which is unaccepted by the society. However, when the
1. Why might García Lorca, in his stage direction, have indicated that there should be, “Pictures of nymphs or legendary kings in improbable landscapes” on the walls? How do these images contrast with the rest of the scene and the action in Act I?
2. There are no men in the play. Yet, they are never far from the action. How does García Lorca contrast women and men in Act One?
3. The play begins at the conclusion of a funeral mass. Do Adela and Angustias behave appropriately considering the occasion? Is Bernarda correct in scolding them?
1. Why might García Lorca have included the story of the field hands hiring prostitutes? What does this story indicate about the way the different socio-economic classes approach sex?
2. Do you think the theft Pepe el Romano’s picture was a joke? Why not?
3. What does Bernarda’s response to the infanticide (murder of a child) indicate about her personality? Does Bernarda ever evoke any sympathy in the audience? Is she purely a malevolent character?
1. Do you believe that Maria Josefa is mad or insane? Much of what she says and does is a logical response to the situation in which she finds herself.
2. Maria Josefa is carrying a baby ewe. What might it symbolize? Why?
3. Do you think that Bernarda actually believed that her daughter died a virgin? Would she be able to convince herself of this over time?