Friendship: Perspectives From Two Modern Plays


  • Mohammed A. Rawashdeh Yarmouk University



friendship, modern drama, Western culture, Chekhov, Ibsen


From ancient times until the nineteenth century, loyalty, trust, understanding, forbearance, and empathy were only some of the merits one expected to find as the foundation of true friendship in Western culture.  For instance, Aristotle insists that friendship must be “reciprocal” and “must involve a wish for the good of the loved one as an end in itself”. Any friendship based on personal gains, whether tangible or not, would have been dismissed as false friendship. The transition from the relatively simple life of Aristotle’s time and the following centuries to the complex modern age has produced a dramatic change in the Western culture, a change that evidently encompassed the concept of friendship. Whereas the Industrial Revolution initiated a gradual change, shifting the world’s economy from an agricultural to an industrial one, the transition from friendships of ‘excellence’ to friendships of ‘utility’ and ‘pleasure’ was rather more accelerated, in the sense that what was viewed as superficial relationships became, over a short period of time, dominant in modern Western culture and recognized as manifestations of friendship. This study explores this cultural change as depicted in two modern dramas— The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.

Author Biography

Mohammed A. Rawashdeh, Yarmouk University

Department of English Language and Literature


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