September 22, 2005


Ex 1-2a: Informal Oral Presentation -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

HELMER: My little songbird mustn’t droop her wings. What’s this? Is little squirrel sulking?

In Ibsen’s A Doll House, Nora seemingly experiences a transformation from a kindly little girl persona to a take charge, I-am-leaving-woman. Nora’s character comes full-circle, or is a dynamic character. But, is her take charge persona buried underneath her act the entire time?

People can not be happy under the guises of demeanors pleasing to others, and not oneself. It is more important to examine and know oneself, rather than live out a mold created by another.

Character Development and Evidence:

Excitable – the instances with the macaroons
Charming – she puts on an act for her husband, she dances for him

This same evidence is also indicative of her other character traits:

The instances with the macaroons – proves she can be Deceptive
Nora dances the Tarantella for Torvald – she is literally spinning him into her web of Deceit

And at the same time the audience gets this evidence, the audience also gets foreshadowing about Nora’s looming leave from Dr. Rank:

Shortly after Rank delivers his diatribe on moral corrupt, Krogstad blackmails Nora.

Dr. Rank leaves business cards with black crosses announcing his coming death, then Nora leaves Torvald.

“A 1928 Broadway hit, Machinal is a modern age tragedy of isolation turned to murder. The play, Sophie Treadwell said, is about "a young woman, ready, eager for life, for love...but deadened, squeezed, crushed by the machine like quality of the life surrounding." Loosely based on the sensational 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Treadwell uses this scenario as a springboard for her own speculations about what circumstances might drive a seemingly harmless stenographer to commit murder.”
Taken from:
Like Ibsen’s A Doll House, Treadwell’s Machinal examines the life of a Young Woman. However, the Young Woman in Machinal does not come full circle, rather she is a static character.
In the beginning, the Young Woman searches for someone or somebody – but never finds that someone or somebody by the end of the play. Even her romantic interlude with the Mexican murderer is brief and fleeting – the fact that he betrays her also clarifies his thoughts on his relations with her. She did not matter to him.
All her life, she seemed to please other people: her co-workers, her mother, George Jones – but never herself. The Young Woman lived the mold, whereas Nora broke the mold.
By examining Ibsen’s dynamic and Treadwell’s static characters, readers are able to realize the detrimental effects of never breaking the mold: the Young Woman died because she was never comfortable enough to just be who she was. Nora got freedom.

Posted by KatieAikins at September 22, 2005 11:49 AM