Slamming the door on patriarchy. The treatment of transgressive women in Henrik Ibsen's works

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Creamer, Siobhan
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Arts
Dublin Business School
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This thesis examines patriarchal society, and the role of transgressive women portrayed in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler and Rosmersholm. Ibsen, a nineteenth-century Norwegian playwright, was often referred to as the father of modern drama, and one of the greatest allies to women. He denied being a feminist and preferred the term ‘humanist’ explaining his treatment of women in his works. There are certainly feminist elements in his play, as the female characters are portrayed as transgressive, breaking the boundaries of the masculine social construction called patriarchy. Each woman violates the perceived codes of femininity, in her desperation for freedom and individuality. As a humanist, Ibsen was interested in the harmful restrictions in society, which are important social issues explored in his plays. He used the plight of women to convey his message and develop a deeper understanding of the inner workings of hegemony in regards to the male construction of women in human civilisation. Author keywords: Feminine, patriarchal society, feminist, transgressive.