His implication that Nora is a nai?? ve child while he is a mature protector is based not on fact but self-delusion. He does not fully appreciate the motivation behind Nora’s actions. Oedipus clearly shows his arrogance during his confrontation with Tiresias. Oedipus statement concerning his action during his encounter with the sphinx reveals a great sense of self-importance and pride. Both Torvald and Oedipus display several characteristics such as arrogance, which cause them to be susceptible to their eventual downfall. The lives of Oedipus and Torvald also mirror each other.
They both begin the book as powerful prestigious figures. Oedipus is the ruler of Thebes, with a loving wife and many children. He is revered by all as the hero who freed Thebes from the Sphinx. Torvald is an aspiring bank manager also with a loving wife and family. He keeps a large home with several servants and is able to throw elaborate costume parties. He also has a great influence over employees at the bank, as we can see by Frogstad and Mrs. Linde’s attempts to curry favor through Nora. Both men are ignorant of a pivotal secret.
Oedipus is unaware that he had murdered his own father and married his mother. Torvald on the other hand is completely ignorant of Nora’s loan and her resulting effort to pay of the loan. The revelation of these secrets causes both these men to act in a way, which directly or indirectly causes destructive changes in their lives. Torvald upon learning of Nora’s loan, proceeds to blame and berate her for foolishness. This scolding causes Nora’s epiphany. She finally realizes the superficial nature of her marriage and leaves Torvald’s household.
This departure certainly has a destructive effect on Torvald as can be judged from the emotive cries of “Nora! Nora! ” (Ibsen, pg 119) uttered following her departure. Oedipus’ destructive behavior is much more obvious and brutal in its nature. Following his epiphany Oedipus proceeds to gouge out his own eyes to prevent them from looking upon the horrors he has committed. This revelation also led to Jocasta’s suicide and the banishment of Oedipus from Thebes. Torvald and Oedipus share a number of similar life experiences. The also play similar roles in their respective plays.
Torvald and Oedipus share a number of self-destructive qualities, which contribute and make them more susceptible to their eventual fall. The events experienced by these characters also are remarkably similar. Both texts relate the tale of a powerful man destroyed by a secret. A possible explanation for the similarities between the two characters is their similar role in both plays. The characters share many qualities perhaps because both authors predetermined the fate of these men and molded them to make their downfall realistic and dramatic.
The similar experiences could also be attributed to this explanation. They have similar life stories because both authors devised similar roles for the characters in their plays. The authors may have both used these characters to express an archetype of downfall, perhaps attempting to utilize catharsis in their respective works. Oedipus and Torvald analogous experience and comparable personalities may be the result of both Sophocles and Ibsen’s attempt to utilize their respective characters to explore similar themes.