Historically human societies have always been hard on women—denying them the right to vote, own property, take out loans, even drive a car in some countries. Women have resisted and fought back or even accepted the status quo in some cases. The women in the plays we have read have various reactions to their situations. Antigone boldly breaks the law and defies Creon[who notes “I won’t be beaten by a woman”]. Her sister Ismene is at first cautious [“We are only women..we cannot fight with men”] but later risks death to side with Antigone. Nora breaks the law behind her husband’s back to save his life and secretly works to pay back the illegal loan; enjoying the feeling of power and accomplishment it gives her [“It was almost like being a man”]. Mrs. Linde had to marry once for practical reasons, without love, to support her family. Now she may find happiness with Krogstad.
Discuss how being a woman affected and complicated the lives of these characters and comment on what difference it may have made if the lawbreakers were men. Make sure to comment on at least one of your peer’s comments. Do you agree or disagree with your peer’s assessment and why?
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