In the 19th century, society was patriarchal, dominated by men, and women were deprived of all their rights. Women were seen as dependent on men in all cultural domains of life, including the following factors: (a) familial; (b) religious; (c) political; (d) economic; (e) social; (f) legal; and (g) artistic. From then on, feminist criticism developed and became one of the most dynamic and influential theories. Primarily, it emphasizes women’s self-awareness, women’s dignity, and women’s contribution to society.
A comparison between the main characters of two different literary works is the central axis of this article to analyze them deeply and systematically from feminist criticism. The controversial women from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” and Henrik Ibsen’s play “A doll‘s House” will show how they play their roles in society.
“I think that, first of all, I am a human being, just as much as you are.” It’s a simple but powerful line from A doll‘s House’s Nora Helmer’s conversation with the person who causes her daily dose of sadness. She is the best representation of the woman who lives in a world where her husband oppresses her and defines her only as a doll, an accessory and a toy in her life.
The same experience is also evident in the main character of the classic novel titled The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne’s sacrificial love for the sake of a clergyman with a name called Dimmesdale became one of the reasons for her punishment. Being an adulterous person leads her to become a symbol of sin in the Puritan community in which she lives. Her struggle with the Puritan patriarchs forces her to be a strong and independent woman.
Of all the sacrifices these women have gone through, Hester and Nora prove that they are more of a passionate woman and don’t let male authority ruin their lives. In addition, they show their passion for what they believe, they do not abide by how women should act in their time and they act according to the principles that have been established.
It was very interesting to analyze The Scarlet Letter and A doll‘s House as an amazing piece of literature of all time. It was interesting to see it from the point of view of the feminist critic because both literary texts were written and set in a time very different from ours.
minifee doll by [Dollshy]