Topic 1: Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a playwright born on March 20, 1828 in Skien, Norway. During his childhood, he grew up as the oldest children of the family in Skien, a small costal town in Norway. Though he was born into a wealthy family, his family was thrown into poverty after his father’s family had some problems. He spent most of his time reading, writing, and painting. At 15, he stopped going to school and started to work where he first wrote his play Catalina. The three periods of Ibsen’s work could be divided into when he introduced The Pillars of Society in 1877, second where he started to use drama to protest against social conditions (such as Ghosts), and the last is symbolic plays such as The Master Builder. During the first phase, he drew attention from the Norway’s new dramatist audience where the primary purpose was not wholly for the stage, but more of a poetry about intellectual and spiritual struggle. The second phase focused more on politics, liberty, and social justice. For example, this includes how people are treated unfairly. Also, he considered more of the philosophy of modern social world, which are related to the moral and ethical relations between human interactions. The last period focused on to explore the illustration of self-realization, self-conquest, or self-annihilation. He is considered the pioneer of modern drama as he was one of the figures who created the rise of the Realistic movement in poetry as a major literature genre. Also, he deviated from traditional theatrical ideals, by making the “settings, characters and narratives that were recognizable and relatable to his audiences.” The two major literary elements Ibsen used in his plays are dramatic irony and symbolism such as focusing on the irony society portrays. The main theme was Man vs. Society and criticism of social problems, which made him popular and controversial among the audience.
Topic 2: Norway
Norway is located at the uppermost of west Europe. Its climates are referred as “marine climates,” where the summers are cool and winters are mild. The Norway government has a parliamentary with a prime minister. Traditionally, there was a king, which now is a constitutional monarch. It has one of the highest GDP in the world and has a big service sector as part of its economy. The Norse literature is a literary culture developed in Norway, which are regarded as more recent folk tales.
Topic 3: Gender Roles and Social Classes in the Victorian Era
The Victorian Era is 1837~1901. Victorian Era was known as a strictly patriarchal society. Men had more economical and social control over women and there were specific roles assigned to men and women. For example, women were only supposed to take care of the children. An ideal women would be passive and have a private life at home. They were known to be “quiet, subordinate, and over all viewed as weak by men.” So the specific assigned role shows that the Victorian era was a patriarchal society. Those in the upper-middle-class generally were land owners who did not do any manual labor. They would make profit out of the lower class workers. The middle-upper were regarded as “lords and officers” while the lower upper were wealthy men and business owners. However, women were still limited to a range of servants and had to have good homemaking skills to organize parties for the men. The lower/working-class had to depend on each other in unsanitary conditions. Women typically were less educated and became servants of wealthier women. The suffering class also had to find workplaces as a servant of other wealthier women. The difference between modern and nineteenth-century feminist lies on fighting for education, labor and electoral rights instead of fully focusing towards human rights.
Topic 4: Marriage in the Victorian Era
– Explain whether or not it was a romantic bond or economic institution and why.
Marriage in the Victorian Era was an economic institutions. Marriage was encouraged within one’s class and especially for upperclass. By forming a relationship between two families, they will help each other politically, economically, and socially. Women and men had different expectations as men showed their ambitions in the public while women were limited within the house – only allowed to enjoy private life and take care of the children in house. The book written by William Andrus Alcott, directly shows the instructions given to each gender during Victorian Era. The fact that women all social classes had to stay and work within the households remains as a similarity. However, lower class women had worse conditions to work, which was a significant difference making the work harder for the lower class women.
Topic 5: Realism
“Theatrical realism” is a movement in theatre that began in 19th-century theatre, starting from Henrik Ibsen. The stages are often portrayed as realistic and the dialogue between characters are natural. Also, the conflict generally reflects the social issues at that time. The movement started from France as people started to accept different social and artistic conditions, making the the work more relatable to reality. These characteristics are mentioned further in this text under the “Beginnings of the Movement.” Theatrical elements of theatrical realism could include realistic dialogues between characters and a relatable conflict and plot of the story. There shouldn’t be any supernatural powers creating the story. Some literary works include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Of Mice and Men by John Steinback, and Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis.