Analyzing Ibsen's Character, Hedda Gabler Essay

Analyzing Ibsen's Character, Hedda Gabler Essay

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Henrik Ibsen's character, Hedda Gabler, is a woman who is torn between her desires and the expectations required of someone of her social standing. At the onset of the play, Hedda has been married for six months, but she still clings to her maiden name, as evident in the title of the play, “Hedda Gabler.” Her reluctance at accepting her new name is symbolic of her dissatisfaction of being married; she misses the freedom of being single, while at the same time longs to be married to an aristocrat, to someone who is more important in society than her husband is.
Hedda was raised under the rule of her military father, General Gabler, and was probably subjected to strict rules and discipline. Growing up she learned nothing of the domestic skills and expectations required of the women of her social standing; she also learned nothing about motherhood, which left her feeling terrified and lost once she learned she was pregnant. Instead, she learned how to shoot pistols and ride horses. Her high social standing never left her in want of any possessions; Hedda was “used to having things in the General's time” (168). She was constantly engaged in social situations with suitors who, though she was beautiful, did not want to marry her. Her lack of prospects within the aristocratic class led her to accept a marriage proposal from Jörgen Tesman, a scholar of lower social standing. Her husband's potential failure at being able to obtain a respectable position at a university leaves Hedda fearing her security and the possibility of not being able to afford new and expensive possessions.
Upon her first appearance on stage, one can garner some very important clues as to Hedda's personality. She is “aristocratic and elegant” (175) and ...


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...p” (203) between herself, her husband, and Brack. The inevitability of an impending affair, coupled with her unwanted pregnancy and loveless marriage, convinced Hedda that she was losing all control of her life.
Suicide was Hedda's final attempt at regaining her control. She destroyed her and Tesman's child, just as she had done with Mrs. Elvsted and Lövborg's “child;” if she did not love the unborn child, no one else was going to be able to. But foremost, she wanted to be able to escape male dominion, most notably that of Brack's. She did not relish the idea of having to cater to his needs and abhorred the idea of having an affair because, if someone found out, it would cause a scandal. In Hedda's eyes, the only way out of this dire situation was to commit suicide. But her death was not going to be hideous like Lövborg's was; hers was going to be beautiful.

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