Master Harold... And the Boys

Idealism and Constraint in Hedda Gabler and Master Harold...And the Boys 12th Grade

For centuries, authors have strived to use their literary texts as a medium for social change and justice – conveying their thoughts and ideas on a variety of key issues and themes. In “Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen and “Master Harold and the Boys” by Athol Fugard, this key concept of conformity and disobedience is clearly addressed. “Hedda Gabler” is an outspoken drama of psychological drives, which expresses the short-lived period of life experienced by a newly wed couple as they experience the tumultuous social change around them in a Norwegian society in the 1890s. “Master Harold and the Boys”, a riveting autobiographical play, set in the 1900s, idealized a future without Apartheid in South Africa. During this time, the plays paralleled the tensions between older paradigms, which relies on the oppression of genders and races into submissive social roles and newer, more progressive worldviews of equality that were slowly become enmeshed in day-today life. Both playwrights targeted the general audiences who were entrenched in racist or sexist norms, and attempted to shed light on the struggle for social justice in the hopes of swaying the audience to accept the liberating change that was occurring.

Though both plays took...

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