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Marital Strain in Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts and Anton Chekhov's The Seagull - Essay Example

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Marital Strain in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts and Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull Marital strain has often been the theme of many literary works. It has been presented as the source of conflict between the characters in the stories written by many authors. This is also the subject in the plays Ghosts and The Seagull, which are respectively written by Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov…
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Marital Strain in Henrik Ibsens Ghosts and Anton Chekhovs The Seagull
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Download file to see previous pages Whatever marital strain they may be experiencing is not the gist but it is that which occurred in the past. Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts may have an interesting title because of what it connotes. However, the title actually refers to the past that haunts Mrs. Alving, which is essentially a marital issue that was left unresolved between her and her husband. Mr. Alving was a philanderer and this, of course, resulted into a conflict with his wife. Mr. Alving died and this issue was never settled. Mrs. Alving thought that this sad past could be hidden from the rest of society and that she herself as well as the rest of those who knew of the issue could simply forget it. She did, however, tries to make use of the lessons she learned from the past in rearing her only son, Oswald. Her attempt did not succeed since Oswald, while being away for so long, also developed his own philandering ways. Oswald’s attitude towards women is not the only condition that reminds Mrs. Alving of the marital strains she experienced in the past. New circumstances emerged that brought back the ghosts of marital infidelities and other conflicts between spouses. These are issues that Mrs. Alving has tried to keep hidden from the rest of society. In Ghosts, it is clear that Ibsen presents Mrs. ...
However, what prevent her from doing so are the restrictions placed by society and religion. It is a society that turns a blind eye to husbands committing violations to their marriage vows but at the same time greatly disdains wives who do the same. Religious beliefs and cultural norms that are biased towards men are also dominant in her time. Patriarchy or male domination was prevalent. Because of this, marital strains that are caused by the infidelities committed by the husband are not considered as major infractions. The wives are expected to just understand their husband’s unfaithfulness and to remain loving and faithful to their spouses. Marital strains would certainly arise in this circumstance but wives are expected to remain meek and obedient, which is why such conflicts are always tried to be concealed. However, when it is the wife who would become unfaithful, she is to be despised. Even the mere thought of doing so is already considered a major violation to the marriage vows. The proof of such gender inequality can be seen in the reaction of Pastor Manders when Mrs. Alving states her attraction to him. As a churchman, it is expected that Pastor Manders would be sensitive to the needs of people. However, his gentle ways made Mrs. Alving get attracted to him. This tendency of Mrs. Alving may be attributed to her dissatisfaction over her marriage. As pointed out earlier, marital strains could trigger the spouses to seek comfort and companionship from other individuals, making them vulnerable to committing infidelities too. However, Pastor Manders negative response to Mrs. Alving’s intentions has clearly prevented the latter to be as unfaithful as her husband. It must be pointed out though that the attitude of Pastor ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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