The Manifestation of the Absent Father through the Daughter Figure in A Doll’s House (1879), Three Sisters (1901) and Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1893)
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This dissertation considers the impact of the absent father in European Realism and Naturalism in three plays from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It investigates into the behaviourisms of the daughter figures in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879), Anthon Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1901) and George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession (1893). The play-by-play analysis explores how the absent father is still present, and manifests himself through Nora Helmer’s, the Prozorov sisters’ and Vivie Warren’s characteristics. Each chapter analyses the conduct of the daughters in reaction to the deficient father’s gesticulations. Chapter One concentrates on Nora Helmer’s relationship with her husband Torvald, and how it traverses the boundaries of a father-daughter affiliation thus affecting her mannerisms. This chapter adopts a psychoanalytical approach and applies Jung’s Electra Complex Theory (1913). This is further explored in Chapter Two with Olga, Irina and Masha Prozorov. Two of the sisters seek a father substitute through ‘repetition compulsion’, whereas Olga develops no romantic endeavours at all. The daughters’ motivations are analysed as a result of the absent father, and the way they remain stagnated in the past. In Chapter Three these provocations are evaluated with Vivie Warren, who exhibits the qualities of the Victorian ‘New Woman’. Her inhabitation of the father’s masculine traits, result in a complete disregard for romantic advances. Throughout the investigation, the pollution of the absent father is hypothesised through the corruption of the familial unit, causing the inner crisis being explored. It considers the diversity of effects that the deficient paternity has on the daughter, whilst identifying the disparity between the motivations of these female protagonists. This dissertation acknowledges Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytical theory, which constructed the ‘Symbolic Father’. It also refers to Paul Rosefeldt’s work, which supports the argument on the manifestation of the absent or unknown predecessor.
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