A woman’s role is to be an obedient and respectful wife throughout history. Her main obligation is to support, serve, and live for her husband and children. In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, two different women decide to take matters into their own hands by doing what they want to do, no matter what the outcome may be and despite what society thinks. These two women come from different lifestyles and lead very different lives yet, these two women share similar situations. They both are victims, both are seeking individuality, and both women end up alone. There are many ways that Nora and Mrs. Wright differ.
First, both come from completely different households. Nora’s home is ‘tastefully furnished’ and always ‘pleasant'(Ibsen 1341). She lives in a lavish home, drinks champagne, and hosts banquets. Nora often has guests at the house as well. There are even maids to watch her children. Torvald is often home and has guests over. On the other hand, Mrs. Wright’s home is unpleasant, in an ‘abandoned farmhouse'(Glaspell 558) in a secluded area. Mrs. Wright does not leave the house very often and Mr. Wright wants no outside interference. Mr. Wright refuses to get a ‘party telephone” (Glaspell 558) because he enjoys his ‘peace and quiet” (Glaspell 559.) These two women lead different lives with different types of people, yet they share some similar aspects.
Both women are ‘victims’ of their controlling husbands. Nora and Mrs. Wright are always told to stay at home, limiting their world. Mrs. Wright’s home ‘never seemed a very cheerful place’. Mr. Wright is controlling, and possibly physically abusive. This is evident when Mrs. Peters finds the birdcage with ‘one hinge pulled apart.” Other evidence that Mr. Wright is verbally abusive is when Mrs. Hale states: ‘She used to sing. He killed that too’. Nora’s husband, Torvald, never took her seriously, saying: ‘Here we go again, you and your frivolous ideas!’. Torvald is verbally abusive, when enraged he says, ‘you think and talk like a stupid child’. Similarly, Mr. Hale doesn’t take girls seriously and he’s fast to evaluate, saying ‘women are used to worrying over trifles’. It is obvious that men during this day thought little or no of ladies.
This lack of positive attention that each girl received pushed them even more to depart. The second way that Nora and Mrs. Wright are similar is that each are seeking freedom, self-worth, and happiness in life. They are seeking individuality. When Nora realizes that she must become independent, she states: ‘If I’m ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone’. Before feat, Nora also states: ‘I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, or a minimum of I am progressing to try and be’. Nora decides that she will now not live sadly with a person that’s just a ‘stranger’. Furthermore, Mrs. Wright tries to reclaim her happy spirits by shopping for a canary. The bird is the only thing that makes her smile in her sad world of mistreatment and loneliness.
Once Mrs. Wright finds out that her husband has killed the bird, she takes revenge on her husband by killing him for all the wrongdoing he bestowed upon her. Mrs. Wright is now free to live her life as she wants with all the happiness and joy in the world. The last way that Nora and Mrs. Wright are similar is that they both ultimately end up alone. When Nora walks out on her ‘old life’ she enters the unknown leaving, so she can be ‘getting experience’ in a new world all on her own. She believes that she does not need Torvald, that she is ‘freeing him from all responsibility’.
Mrs. Wright is also alone because she decides that she can no longer deal with her husband’s abuse, so she kills him with a ‘rope around his neck’. Mrs. Wright may not have been fully aware of what she has done, perhaps because she is in shock or because the killing is in the spare of the moment, but it can be concluded that killing her husband was her way of justice because she has endured much more emotional pain throughout the years, though one can easily see that killing her husband is a sinister and inhumane thing to do.
These are two strong women who stand up for what they believe in. They come from different worlds, yet they still share the same type of sadness and pain in their everyday lives. What Nora will be considered valorous in this time in history, where women were not treated as equals and were always looked down on and ignored. Women speaking out and taking matters into their own hands was unparalleled and sometimes risky. They want to be freelance, in order that they do what they believe is important to accomplish and reach their goals, so they will all over again be happy for eternity.