Dolls House, Das Rheingold & Die Walküre Essay Example & Outline

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Das Rheingold and Die Walküre


Richard Wagner’s Libretto and Der Ring des Nibelungen can arguably be described as one of the best operatic works ever written. The meticulous details and representation of characters throughout the four different works is a testament of the operatic genius of Richard Wagner. In addition to this, the representation of real life and social concerns depicts the high level of Wagner’s desire to address the social problems that every modern day society faces. The first two dramas, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, form the basis of the entire operatic work.

In the first musical drama, Das Rheingold, Alberich and Wotan play the central developmental roles. Alberich is lustful and greedy. This is evidenced by a number of events in the first scene, in this first drama. At the beginning of the drama, Alberich’s lust is awakened when he encounters the Rhinedaughters. He wishes that he could have one of the daughters to embrace and tries to get a hold of them. His lust drives him from one daughter to the other, though his attempts fail miserably since the Rhinedaughters are only teasing him.

This lust is transformed into greed when he shifts his attention to the gold. The news that whoever forges a ring from the gold will attain wealth drives his greed and his diversion from the Rhinedaughters to the gold. Alberich is also very cunning. He tricks the Rhinedaughters into revealing that only he who renounces love can access the gold. Needless to say, once this information is in hands, he quickly renounces love and proceeds to acquire the gold, to the dismay of the Rhinedaughters. In scene three, Alberich’s greed is also depicted by the fact that he plans to master the entire world through greed and the love of gold. To him, the ring is a means of power through wealth. Having being consumed by greed himself, he only wishes to attain more power and wealth.

Wotan, the king of the gods, is a character at a crossroads. The many conflicts he faces make him display a puzzling contradiction of traits. Wotan is just. Being the king of the gods, he rules through the treaties he establishes with other gods, and with the other creatures under his rule. To protect these treaties, they are engraved as runes on his spear. However, he is also a character that is willing to circumvent these same treaties that he formulated, as depicted when he tries to cheat the giants out their payment for the construction of Valhalla in scene four. Wotan is also ambitious and covetous. His willingness to trade love for power highlights his ambitious and covetous nature. He was willing to trade Freia, his sister-in-law, as payment to the giants for constructing Valhalla. Wotan is also a man seeking self-consciousness seeing that he willingly gave up one eye so that he could drink from the fountain of wisdom.

Wagner uses a number of motifs to depict the emotions and traits of characters. The use of Fricka’s motif highlights the renunciation of love by Wotan with regard to Freia, who is Fricka’s sister. Loge’s cunning motif highlights the cunning behavior of Wotan when he tried to cheat the giants out of obtaining Freia as payment for their services. In the beginning of the drama, the motif of the Rhine is used to depict the majestic and pristine nature of the Rhein. This motif, however, develops into one depicting the rushing along of the Rhein once Alberich appears at the river. The renunciation of love motif is used consistently in the dramas, as well. It is a symbol of the willingness of individuals to renounce love in order to attain wealth and power. The ring motif is also of great importance in this work. At the beginning, the bright ring motif plays when the Rhinedaughters explain the abilities of the ring and its pure nature. This motif transforms into the sinister ring motif that highlights the evil desires of Alberich. The curse motif is also used when Alberich places a curse on the ring in scene four after Wotan forcefully takes the ring from him.

In the second drama, Die Walküre, Wagner employs the use of Siegmund and Brünnhilde to develop the plot of the entire operatic work. Siegmund comes across as a woeful character. Having undergone a myriad of problems and challenges in his life, he considers himself a very unlucky person. His mother died and he was separated from his father and sister at a tender age. Due to the constant sorrow that plagues him, he also calls himself Wehwalt.

Siegmund is also liberal. This is evidenced by the fact that he challenges what the society perceives to be wrong. This is when he commits incest with Sieglinde. To him, it was not wrong to love his sister. He challenges conventional morality on the matter by taking Sieglinde away from Hunding. Siegmund is also an empathetic character. This is highlighted when he attempts to rescue a girl from a forced marriage. He willingly engaged in a fight to save the girl, a feat that contributes greatly to his eventual death. His empathy is once again aroused when he rescues Sieglinde from Hunding. In addition to loving her, he wanted to rescue her from the unwanted marriage she had been forced into many years ago. Being one of the characters Wagner chose to portray the power of love, he is a loving character, as well. He loved Sieglinde so much so that he was ready and willing to give up his place in Valhalla because Sieglinde would not be there with him.

Read more about the Waner and Liszt Songs

Brünnhilde is the favorite daughter of Wotan. She is a kind character. When she was told to ensure that Siegmund dies in his fight with Hunding, she informs Siegmund of his impending death as an act of kindness. She offers him a chance to let Sieglinde escape but Siegmund rejects her kind offer. Her kindness is once again portrayed when she helps Sieglinde flee from Wotan. She gives her the broken pieces of Nothung and sends her on her way to flee from Wotan. This is after her failed attempts to have her sisters help her rescue Sieglinde from Wotan. Brünnhilde is also compassionate. She willingly disobeyed her father out of the compassion she felt for Siegmund and Sieglinde. Her compassion towards Siegmund and Sieglinde’s love forces her to revolt against Wotan-a feat for which she pays with her immortality.

A number of motifs are employed in this second drama. The upward turn of the spear motif is used in the beginning, in scene one, to highlight the presence of Wotan. It also highlights the possibility that his power and will may be challenged later on in the drama. The Nothung motif is used when Siegmund successfully removes Nothung from the tree in Hunding’s house, as well as when Wotan shatters Nothung. Erda’s motif is used when Fricka appears to remind Wotan that he must punish Siegmund and Sieglinde for their incest. This motif represents the epitome of feminine wisdom. The fate motif is played when Brünnhilde announces to Siegmund that she has come for him. Since only those doomed to die can see a Valkyrie, it shows that fate has caught up with Siegmund. The redemption motif plays when Brünnhilde announces to Sieglinde that she is expecting a child-Siegfried, in the third act.

In his works, Wagner paid close attention to the selection and composition of motifs. He used motif to highlight emotions, character traits, virtues and even as symbols. The transformation of motifs is also applied in cases where the character traits of individuals in the drama change. The tempo used relates greatly to the emotions depicted in the drama, seeing that it also rises gradually as the dramas near their climaxes.


References
Sabor, R. (1997). Richard Wagner "Der Ring des Nibelungen": A companion vol. London: Phaidon Press.




 

Dolls House


Henrico Ibsen, consider by most people as the father of the modern prose drama, was born in a place called Skien, Norway, on March, 1828 (Ibsen, 21). Ibsen's early years of playwright were not very lucrative , but he gained some very valuable experience during this item In 1866, he published his first major theoretical success, which was lyric drama that was named the Brand This was followed by yet another successful called the , Peer Gynt. The two worked his reputation very much and made him well known by people.

A Doll's house was written in a prose form. This is widely considered as a huge success in the development of what could soon be named as a highly prevalent genre of theatre-realism, which aims at portraying life as accurately as possible and shuns idealized visions (Ibsen, 23). A Doll's House employs the theme of classical tragedy, unexceptional people. It also manifests Ibsen's concern of the women's rights as well as for the human's right in general (Godden, 22).

A Doll's House opens on Christmas Eve. Nora Helmer once secretly borrowed a large sum of money in order that her husband could recuperate from an illness that was very serious and had threatened to end his life. She has been repaying the loan secretly and had never told husband of the loan from the savings she accrued from her savings from the households through small installments (Godden, 25). Her husband, Torvald, thinks that she is careless and very childlike an often calls her childish and refers to her as a doll.

When he is selected as the bank director, his first assignment is to relieve a man who had once been caught with the disgraceful act of forging a signature on a document. This man, by the name of Nils Kroonstad, is a man who had lends Nora the sun of money. It is revealed that Nora had forged her father's signature in order to be able to be given a loan. I this regard, Krogstad decide to expose Nora unless she convinces her husband not to fire her.

Nora, who is very afraid of being exposed, tries to influence her husband's decision, but her husband does not pay any attention to her as he thinks of her as small child who is not capable of making any important decision when it comes to matters of business. Therefore, when Torvald discovers that Nora had forged her father's signature name, he is ready to go public in spite of the fact that she had done this for the sake off his husband. In the end, after the crises are solved, Nora resolves that her husband is not worth of her love and therefore decides to leave him (Godden, 35).

Themes

Themes refer to fundamental and universal ideas which are explored in a literacy work. In A Doll's House, Ibsen brings out ht sacrificial role that is held by women of all economic classes in his society. The play's female characters are represented by Nora's assertion that although men decline to sacrifice their integrity, hundreds, and thousands of women have for a certain purpose. In order to be supportive to both her mother as well as her two brothers, Mrs. Linde thought it was important and necessary to abandon Krogstad, which was her true love-but who was broke- in order to marry a richer man (Anthony, 36). The nanny had to leave and neglect her child in order to support herself by working as Nora's caregiver. As she narrates to Nora, the nanny considers herself to be very lucky to have gotten a job, since she was one of the poorest girls who had been led astray.

Although Nora is very well of economically in comparison to other female characters in the play, she ends up leading a very difficult life due to the fact that society dictates that the man be the dominant figure in the marriage. Therefore, Torvald is held as the dominant of the two of them in the marriage. Torvald issues decree and looks down upon Nora, and Nora is forced to hide her loan from him since she knows that Torvald could not accept the idea that it was her who saved his life.

In addition, she must work secretly in order to repay the loan, since it is illegal for any woman to get a loan without the consent of their husband. Due to the motivation of deception, the attitudes and the perception of Torvald, who represents the male in the society, Nora is left vulnerable to Krogstad blackmail (Anthony, 65). This is a representation of what happens in the society. The decision of Nora to abandon her children could also be named as an act of self-sacrifice (Ibsen, 34). Despite her great love for the children, she had to make the call of leaving them. Nora believes that the nanny can be a better mother and that leaving hr children is in the best of their interest.

Parental and filicidal obligations.

Nora, Torvald, as well as Dr. Rank each, expresses the idea that a parent is obligated to be honest and vey upstanding. Since his parent's immorality is passed to their children the same way, the disease is. In fact, Dr. Rank has a disease that is as a result of his father's depravity. He believes that his father's action of immorality with very many women, led him to contract a disease which he passed on to his other sons, causing him to suffer from the actions of a father's misdeeds. Torvald emphasizes the ideas that parents are the guidelines for moral character in their children and tells Nora that nearly all young criminals had mothers who had a lying habit. He does not allow Nora to interact with the children after he learns of the act of lying, for the fear that she would corrupt the children with the same character and make them deceitful.

The play also makes a suggestion that the children must have an n obligation to protest their parents. Nora, after recognizing this particular obligation and ignoring it, chooses to sacrifice herself for the sake of her herself as well as for the husband instead of her sick father. On the other hand, Mrs. Linde abandoned his great hopes of leaving with Krogstad, and instead chooses to undertake many years of labor catering for her sick mother. Ibsen is very reluctant on passing judgment on the decisions that the two women decided upon. He however uses the idea of a child's debt to their parent to show the complexity as well as the reciprocal nature of the familial obligations.

Misreading of appearances

In the course of A Doll's House, appearances have been proven to be very misleading in such a way that they mask the reality of the character of the play as well as the situations. Our first impression created of Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad all face an undercut in the end. Nora is at first portrayed as very childish, but as the play progresses , she comes out as intelligent, very motivated, and as the [lay comes into conclusion, she comes out as strong willed, a free thinker and very hardworking.

Torvald reveals himself as a coward, petty and very selfish especially he fears that Krogstad is likely to reveal the scandals that he was involved in. In the play, however, he plays the role of strong, benevolent husband. Krogstad also comes out as more sympathetic and merciful as opposed to what is implied when we first get introduced to him as a trying to blackmail Nora (Ibsen, 35). The climax of the play is majorly on the issue of solving identity crises, where Nora is depicted as a vey earnest lover, an intelligent man. Nora is also to be revealed as an intelligent, smart, and brave woman. Torvald is however a disappointing, simpering and sad man.

There are various situations that are misinterpreted by both the characters as well as the reads. The perceived hatred between Mrs. Linde, as well as Krogstad, comes out as the love. The creditor of Nora is revealed to be Krogstad as opposed to the earlier perception that it was Dr. Rank. To our surprise as well off to Nora, Dr. Rank confesses that he feels attached and in love with Nora (Anthony, 76).

Letters

Most of the plots twist as well as turns depend heavily on the writing as well as the letters, which function within the play as the subtext which reveals the true, unpleasant nature of the situations that are obscured by Torvald as well as Nora's efforts at creation of beauty. Krogstad writes tow letters in response to this. The first shows Nora's crime of committing a forgery, and the second one show his claim of retracting his blackmail threat and returns Nora's promissory note.

The first letter represents the truth about the past of Nora and forms that point, initiates the unavoidable dissolution of her marriage (Losey, 24). The second letter is very significant in releasing Nora from her obligation to Krogstad and also her freedom to from her obligation to Torvald. Nora notices that the letters have done more than just exposing her actions to Torvald; exposing the truth about Torvald selfishness , and she is not able to participate in the illusion of a happy and well coordinated marriage.

The method of Dr. Rank of communicating his imminent death is to resolve to leave his calling card that is marked with a black cross in Torvald 's letterbox. In their earlier communications with Nora, Dr. Rank reveals his understanding of the difficulty in willingly eating the reality that Torvald claims. Other letters include that of Mrs. Linde note that is addressed to Krogstad that provides an initiation of her's-life changing meeting with Krogstad. The other is that of dismissal of Krogstad

Symbols

These refer to objects, colors and figures which show abstracts ideas, as well as concepts.

The Christmas tree

This is a festive object which is meant to serve as a decoration,. In the play, it represents oar's position in her household as a plaything that is very attractive to look at as well as a charm at home. There are various similarities that have been drawn between Nora, as well as the Christmas tree. The same way that Nora instructs that the children are not allowed to see the Christmas tree unless it is well decorated, she tells Torvald that he cannot see her in her dress until the evening which the dance is supposed to happen. After Nora's physiological condition had started to erode, the stage reveals that the Christmas tree is correspondingly becoming slowly disheveled.

New Years Day

The play is set at the Christmas time, which shows both Torvald and Nora looking forward to the New Year's like the beginning of a new, happier and more prosperous phase of their lives. In the new-year, Torvald is set to start a new job, and anticipates the extra money as well as the admiration it will bring fourth. Nora also anticipates Torvald's new job, since she will finally be able to repay her secret loan in full. However, by the end of the play, the nature of Torvald and Nora changes dramatically. They both find themselves becoming new people,. Therefore, the New Year comes in to mark the start of a truly new different period in both of their lives, as well as their personalities.

Characterization


Nora Helmer

Nora is perceived as very happy as the play begins. She is anticipating for Torvalds new job and does not seem to mind her doll-like existence, in which she is provided for and pampered as well as patronized (Garland, 34). As the play progress she disapproves those who view her as stupid (Losey, 33). She does this by showing that she understood the details of the loan she took to preserve Torvald's health. This indicates that she is intelligent and possesses capacities that are beyond just being a mere wife. The blackmail as well as the trauma that follow do not change the nature of Nora but instead open her eyes to her potential. She has, in false pretense taken the role of someone she is not in order to fulfill the role that Torvald, as well as her father and society, have expected of her (Anthony, 88). Nora, through a combination of events and self-will, is finally forced to reveal her true self. She decides to walk out of her husband as well as the children in order to find her independence.

Torvald Helmer

Torvald embraces the belief and the general perception that the role of a man is to protect and provide guidance for his wife (Garland, 12). Nora requires his guidance and interacts with her the same way that a father would. Although Torvald seizes the power in the relationship and refers to Nora as a girl, it appears that he is the weaker and is more childish. Torvald must in fact, be sheltered just like a child from the realities of life and the world (Garland, 33). He is very sensitive and conscious of what people in the society would think of him as well as hi standing in the community. In fact, he emphasis the fact that Nora, who he claims, has ruined his happiness and will not be allowed to raise the children, remaining in the household for the sake of the image of the household


References

Ibsen, Henrik, and E Haldeman-Julius. A Doll's House. Waiheke Island: Floating Press, 2008. Internet resources.
Godden, Rumer, and Tasha Tudor. The Dolls' House. New York: Viking Press, 1962. Print.
Anthony, Evelyn. A Doll's House. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1992. Print.
Garland, Patrick, Christopher Hampton, Hillard Elkins, Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson, Denholm Elliott, Anna Massey, Edith Evans, Arthur Ibbetson, John Barry, and Henrik Ibsen. A Doll's House. Santa Monica, CA: Distributed by MGM Home Entertainment, 2003.
Losey, Joseph, Jane Fonda, David Warner, Edward Fox, Trevor Howard, and Henrik Ibsen. A Doll's House. Los Angeles, CA: Prism Entertainment Corp, 1986