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“Oedipus Rex”by Sophocles and “A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen


Recognition and Reversal in Oedipus Rex and A Doll’s House number Recognition and Reversal in Oedipus Rex and A Doll’s House
Oedipus Rex and A Doll’s House were written in completely different eras. They are in fact, separated by centuries of time. Both these plays, however, have as parts of their plots a recognition of truth by the protagonists of the plays and a reversal of the action of the play that happens as a result.
The recognition that Oedipus goes through of his murder of his father and his incestuous relationship with his mother Jocasta causes a reversal in the action of the play, which till then involved the efforts to find out the trespasser of divine law in the kingdom of Thebes. It is Oedipus himself who orders the investigation but ironically, it is he who is found to be the culprit. The reversal in Oedipus Rex serves to highlight the importance of fate in the lives of people. Sophocles, by telling his audience that the reversal of action in the play is inevitable, seeks to show the power that fate exercises over mankind and man’s helplessness.
In A Doll’s House, Nora’s moment of recognition comes when she realizes that her husband Torvald is not the loving husband that she had thought him to be. She recognizes her lack of individuality that had resulted from a marriage in which she had sacrificed everything that was her due, in return for nothing. Torvald’s inability to be grateful for what Nora had done
for the family jolts Nora into a realization of her position and this leads to a reversal in the action of the play that culminates in the exit of Nora from the ‘doll’s house’.
These two plays, though they are different in most of their aspects, reveal a similarity in the manner in which the action undergoes a reversal that follows a dramatic process of realization that the protagonists of the plays undergo.
Works Cited
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. New Delhi: Methuen, 2006. Print.
Sophocles. The Theban Plays. England: Penguin Classics, 1978. Print.

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