Comparison of a Dolls Hours and Mrs Warrens Proffession Characters.
English and Literature
Submitted By taylzz1
After your reading of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ and Shaw’s ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’ write a comparison between the characters Nora and Vivie. Write 3 sides of A4.
The characters Nora and Vivie from ‘A Doll’s House’ and ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’ are quite different in numerous ways. These differences stem from the fact that they are both from different countries, as well as the fact that they have different upbringings and backgrounds. There are some similarities between the two due to fact they are both based in the Victorian Era in the 19th Century and they are both, in some way, struggling with what were considered the social norms at the time.
One difference between the characters that can is very apparent from the beginning of the plays is that Vivie is a leader, and Nora is the exact opposite, a follower. This is shown when Vivie makes it clear that she is an independent woman who does not need the help of others such as a man to live her life successfully. She has gained a degree and her own job at the ‘Honoria Frasers Chambers’ and lives alone in a rented cottage. However Nora lives by her husband Helmer’s rules for the majority of the play and relies on others such as the maid and the nurse to tend to visitors when they leave their ‘card’ or needs someone to watch the children. At one point she admits to knowing she is a follower when she requests that Helmer ‘lead me like you always do’.
Another difference between the two is that Nora allows people to belittle her and degrade her and doesn’t seem to mind, whereas Vivie doesn’t take well to people treating her badly and is more confident in voicing her opinions if she is not happy with something. Helmer often refers to Nora as ‘My little songbird’ and ‘my squirrel’ and ‘my obstinate little woman’. He treats her as though she is below him, in a childlike manner and like she is not a person, but merely one of his possessions, like a doll. Vivie on the other hand does not like people talking down to her and likes to take charge of situations, at one point, she expresses her opinion and takes charge when she says‘Nonsense, Frank. Mother will stay here’. This suggests she is confident enough to tell people what she is thinking, whereas Nora seems to have great difficulty to do so until the end of the play. Once again, this shows she can be independent. She rejects two marriage proposals because she prefers to take charge of her life alone and in her own way, this supports the idea that they differ in this area for the majority of the time.
There are also similarities between the two characters. Both Nora and Vivie have someone close to them that wants to control them and control their lives. Nora has her husband Helmer watching her every move, making sure she behaves in a way he finds acceptable for people to see his wife act. For example, she slightly digresses from his rules and buys herself a ‘treat’ from ‘the pastry shop’, in turn he ‘wags his finger’ in disapproval at the thought of her disobeying him. In Vivie’s circumstances, it is her mother Mrs Warren who attempts to control her, despite the fact she rarely sees her daughter. Vivie does not appreciate when her mother ‘makes arrangements that concern me’ without her ‘consulting’ her beforehand.
Another similarity between Nora and Vivie is in their attitudes. Throughout the plays, they both show a very negative, worried attitude at times and at one point, Vivie refers to herself as ‘Permanently unromantic’ as she wants neither Frank nor Praed to keep wanting her hand in marriage and she wants to be alone. Nora on the other hand worried for the fate of her husband Helmer when he is ill and she states that she needed to ‘save Torvald’s life’ so desperately that she borrowed money against his wishes to do so, leading to her worrying for the majority of the play about would happen if she failed to pay back Krogstad and he told of her ‘crimes’. As well as being negative, both characters can be very sympathetic and kindhearted if needs be, this is also shown when Nora does everything she can to ‘save Torvald’s life’ despite the fact she thinks the worst will happen. Vivie shows her kindhearted side when she steps back and forgets about her own needs of supper and provides for everyone else first, this small gesture shows she can be very caring and not just ‘unromantic’ and purely a ‘woman of business’.
Nora and Vivie are the most similar towards the end of their plays. This is because they both stand up for themselves and tell everyone that they want to live freely, the way they want to. Nora tells Helmer that she no longer wants to be ‘bound’ to him and that she is leaving and Vivie tells Mrs Warren she wants to bid her ‘goodbye now’ and carry on in their separate ways.
In conclusion, Nora and Vivie mainly differ because of their surroundings, who they associate with and what their upbringing was like. They are very similar in the way that they overcome the typical woman stereotype and become stronger individuals.