Justice is defined as the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness by dictionary. com. Justice in terms can be perceived differently in by society. Being just or having justice can be seen as following the law, being honest, and behaving in a good manner; although some may see it as the punishment or the reward that a person deserves on account of their actions and decisions. The plays “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell were written in an era were society has a different aspect on the way women should be than we do now.
In the plays “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell the female characters and the male characters see justice in a different point of view. Nora is the wife of Torvald Helmer, as well as a mother and the main character in the play “A Doll’s House”. Nora is presented to be a perfect wife in the beginning; she is a positive, obedient, happy, naive, and a good trophy wife for Torvald; as the play goes on the reader can see a side of Nora that shows how she perceives justice. When Mrs. Linden arrives Nora sheds light to a secret that can as Nora says to Mrs. Linden “would just ruin our relation (Torvald). Our beautiful, happy home” (1254, Ibsen). Nora had borrowed money from Nils Krogstad who is one of the clerks at the bank that Torvald is going to manage.
Mr. Krogstad arrives at Nora’s home to tell Torvald about the loan. Nora confronts Mr. Krogstad and admits that she has forged her father’s name on the contract and did not tell her husband. Mr. Krogstad explains the situation to Nora; whom does not comprehend the extent of her crime. Nora argues to Mr. Krogstad “a daughter hasn’t right to protect her dying father … wife hasn’t a rite to save her husband’s life? I don’t know much about the law, but I’m sure some were in the books these things are allowed. “(1263, Ibsen). Nora shows that her motive for the deed was done out of love which insures that there is justice in forging the document. It also shows how uneducated in that matters of law she is; witch in return ads to the way she sees justice. Nora is faced with many hard decision throw out the play including letting Torvald read the letter that she was trying to prevent him from seeing. The letter that Mr. Krogstad had delivered to incriminate Nora.
After seeing the terrified reaction and remark of Torvald “I am in the power of a scoundrel; he can do whatever he pleases with me, demand whatever he chooses;” (act2,Ibsan) towards reading the letter she has an epiphany that her husband could be instantaneously whipped down to contradict his very words and morals. She realizes that he is neither in control or the person who she thought he was. Nora comments to Torvald “I to stand completely alone if I am ever to discover myself and the world out there” (1294, Ibsen) the realization that she is a woman first before a wife and mother.
Nora takes a baffling decision to leave her home and family and go find herself as a woman. Here leaving is justice to herself to go and try to live life for herself and not be doll of Torvald and society. The irrational behavior of Nora can be explained by the way she interprets justice. She saw that justice was based on her morals and the emotional aspect of the situation. Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” presents the theme of justice in a more customary way. Murder is centered throughout the play and initiates feelings to be introduced to the characters.
Justice is one of the main themes of the play, but another issue that is shown is that of gender inequality. The two themes can be connected with one another in roles of the sexes during the time period the play was written; giving the perception of the characters to be stereotypical to their gender and profession. Although the male characters are not always on stage their view of justice can be compared to those of the female characters. George Henderson is the county attorney that has come to gather evidence on the case against Minnie Wright for the murder of John Wright, her husband.
Henry Peters is the local sheriff that is escorting the attorney to the scene of the crime the farm house. Justice to them comes in the form of obeying the law: were the court decides whether the convicted is guilty or not and if so their punishment. Opposing to the justice that both Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters comprehend justices to be that a person will get what they deserve in comparison to their actions.
Both women are partially biased to Mrs. Wright the suspect; their sense of compassion toward Mrs. Wright and her living conditions. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discover evidence that solve the crime but, the two women are faced with a moral decision to tell the men or hold the information to them selfs. Believing that the best choice is to conceal the evidence that can give motive to the murder of Mr. Wright. Mrs. Hale justifies her their actions and the ones of Minnie Wright with emotional righteousness. Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale relate to the life of Mrs. Wright and how she must have felt when Mr. Wright killed the bird, Mrs. Peters could relate to how she felt when in the past a boy brutally killed her cat.
Telling Mrs. Hale that “If they hadn’t held me back, I would have… hurt him. ” (930, Glaspell). They only see the death of the bird as a provocative act towards Mrs. Wright. They describe Mr. Wright as a hard man and that passing time with him was like the cold weather, and that Minnie would have suffered for just living with him causing the change in her attitude from before she was with Mr. Wright to after the murder.
Justice can be interpreted in different manners by diverse people in unique situations. Even in today’s society we can witness similarities in the relationships between men and women. The characters from the two plays “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell can be categorized in by gender and the compared to the men on how they perceive Justice. Do to their divers situation their interpretation of justice is focused to a certain point it differs from them male perspective of justice.