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modern breakthrough paper 1

modern breakthrough paper 1 - Will Cliff Professor Patrick...

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Will Cliff Professor Patrick Wen Scandanavian Literature 50W 11 May 2010 Strindberg and Ibsen in the Modern Breakthrough: Contrasting the Woman Question The Modern Breakthrough occurred at the end of the 19 th century as a reaction to Romanticism . Breaking away from an era focused on nature and emotion, the Modern Breakthrough is largely associated with a period known as Naturalism . Characterized by presenting social realism and entertaining and not criticizing , naturalism brought social issues— like the role of the woman—to the helm of everyone’s minds (Wen, Patrick. Lecture 7. Scandanavian 50 W) . Scandinavian play writes August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen brought such questions to the stage and offer differing viewpoints . The role women play in society, a social issue questioned during Scandinavia’s Modern Breakthrough, is epitomized by Strindberg and Ibsen in their respective tragedies The Father and A Doll House ; Strindberg takes the stance that women must remain in their traditional family position of power below the dominant man, while Ibsen takes the more modern stance that men and women should hold equal position of power within the family and society. In The Father , Strindberg takes a very conservative, negative stance on the idea of the “new woman .” His discontent for the social change is apparent through is portrayal of Laura as a dishonest, backstabbing woman who refuses to compromise and work with her husband the Captain . Strindberg associates the new woman with the diminishing power of the male figure in the family . This is demonstrated by Laura when she says, “You were big and strong, yet not
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fully a man . You were a giant child who had come into the world too soon, or perhaps an unwanted child” (p . 253). Strindberg’s point of view is apparent here, and throughout the story, that he believes the modern woman is not meant to run a family and that this will jeopardize the
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