Reflecting real-life rather than idealising it is one of the aims of Sophocles and Henrik Ibsen's writings where they put great emphasis on the apparent difference between the female and male power of their respective societies. The female protagonists of 'Antigone' and 'A Doll's House', namely Antigone and Nora respectively, act as brave females who are able to break the laws of their societies enabling them to follow their true inner-self contradicting the aims of men. Therefore, this brings afresh perspectives of women to the audience and readers at a time when women's perception of life relied much upon the authoritative men around them!
Antigone recognises the reality - she is aware of her family's past and the cruel society that she has to combat to achieve her objective which is to bury her dead brother. She is also a representation of a courageous feminine, described as 'spirited horses' by Creon because she has the guts of being disobedient of the king and the laws alone  . Her ability to endure these circumstances fearlessly credits her ease in overcoming the males. Similarly, Nora's gradual understanding of her relationship with her husband and his beliefs allows her to make her conscious of the absurd reality in which she blindly accepted to live. Furthermore, she 'perform tricks' that are against the law to preserve her husband's health, thus her happy marital life. This actually defines a typical wife who will do anything for her husband; however, forgery being an illegal act makes it unacceptable in Torvald's opinion; though this is done for his sake. This can be considered as a portrayal of a relationship between a husband and wife during the Victorian era as whenever women are wrong, they have no support; and they are compelled to accept their husbands' decisions whether they are right or wrong. Eventually, these outline the courage of these women that are the prime factors to overcome those male dominators.
In 'Antigone', the main character overcomes the masculine controllers by making use of her own 'masculine manners'  : her courage of disobeying the King for the sake of the honour of her family and the gods and being able to bear the refusal of her own sister in helping her: "So, do as you like, whatever, suits you best-I will bury him myself" displays the manly qualities within her. Conversely, in the beginning of Ibsen's play, Nora overcomes Torvald by utilising her feminine characteristics: she is conscious of her beauty and sweet talks that are purely manipulative to Torvald. At this point, she is very happy in her 'perfect' life in which she is given animalistic names by her patronised character.
The adamant Creon and the gutless Torvald deceive the male superiority: the cowardice of Torvald can be demonstrated through his reaction towards the letter he received from Krogstad. Regardless of the fact that his life was saved by his wife, Torvald, instead of appreciating her selfless deed, blames her for having damaged his life and further demands her not to be 'near the children'. This therefore describes him as someone whose only concern is his honour demonstrating a weak male who cannot face challenges that are against the rules of his society . On the other hand, in Antigone, Creon, obstinate for not changing his mind, ruins his own life, though he was warned about these consequences by the Theban prophet, Tiresias. He is therefore known as the murderer of his own family and is consequently left alone in his palace. These weaknesses of men imply as one of the causes of the eventual success of these women.
Additionally, in A Doll's House, Torvald and Nora's father shared the same belief upon women, thinking that women have no opinion of their own  but this is proven wrong by the oppressed Nora by demonstrating her capabilities of doing things independently as well as being a devoted wife during the time when Torvald's life was in danger. However, on Torvald's opinion, it seems that breaking the law for the sake of his wife, would not seem realistic to him as suggested by Dr. Rank who described Torvald "(as someone who) is so fastidious, he cannot face up to anything ugly" but Nora combat the difficulties, acting as the man of the family fearlessly. In contrast, Antigone's Creon is certainly impressed by Antigone's impassionate dedication towards her family and he is not unknown to the ability of the woman. The latter's persistent and endless combat for the burial rights is the evidence of her fearless nature towards the society. Eventually, it can be deduced that the fearless instinct in these female protagonists supplies an additional appeal to the ways they surmount these males.
Both playwrights highlight the social position of women where they are recognised as less intelligent, weak or less career-oriented beings; however, the main characters are depictions of some of those women who underwent these sufferings unknowingly in the male-dominated societies: in the Theban play, Sophocles wrote about two sisters, Antigone and Ismene who are the opposite of each other. Ismene can be interpreted as an instance of one of those submissive women who abide by the laws of the Theban society but Antigone represents assertive ones who rebels against the state seeking for the rightful rights of Polyneices and she persists till death. Likewise, Nora leaves her loved ones, in the search of her own identity, emancipating herself from the laws of the Norwegian society to become a 'selfish woman so that she may look after her own needs and wants, something that she neglected for the sake of her family!
Antigone and A Doll's House are plays that explore the same reality that existed within two different societies: women's obligation of living under a particular 'regime' formulated by males was the sad truth. The illustrations of women such as Antigone and Nora, who have experienced a success in overcoming the males demonstrates that it was not impossible to express one's opinion in such society, but naive women like Nora and Ismene encouraged their voice to be unheeded. The portrayal of women displayed by Sophocles and Henrik Ibsen clearly conveys their message that is to have gender equality and man and woman should have the opportunity to identify his or her own individuality without any judgmental controller...