In Cassandra and A Dolls House, both Christa Wolf and Henrik Ibsen express their feelings of the socio-economic status of women through the characters of Penthesilea and Nora Helmer. In addition, the authors put their characters in situations where their socio-economic status as being women is challenged.
Christa Wolf uses the Trojan War to show womens role in society. During the war, women are not allowed to give any input such as suggestions and opinions about the war, so they become extremely vulnerable, and slaves to the men because they are afraid of what might happen. However, Penthesilea, a man-warrior and independent woman, is not perturbed to show her independence. Her every appearance, her every sentence, was a challenge to someone. She was not looking for allies among us. She was not merely fighting the Greeks; she was fighting all men. I saw that Priam was afraid of her, and Eumelos surrounded her with a thick security cordon (117). The only way Penthesilea can show her independence is by diverging the fantasies of men, which is that women lack the ability to take on a mans job. Therefore, Penthesilea changes her appearance to intimidate and show the men that she does not have to oblige to their rules. Another situation where Penthesilea shows her independence is during the altercation between her and Achilles. He began to play with her The fact that she forced him to take her seriously was her last triumph. He threw her down, wanted to take her captive; she scratched him with her dagger and forced him to kill her (120). Achilles thought he could take advantage of Penthesilea because she is a woman, which meant she is weak. However, Penthesilea was determined not to become a slave, so she continued to defend herself. This makes Achilles embarrassed, so he decides to kill her to show he is still in power.