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Hedda Gabler

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In the play Hedda Gabler, the author Henrik Ibsen portrays Hedda Gabler as a control freak who is overly concerned with society's opinion of her. He creates a character that treats others in a demeaning manner and repeatedly uses the following phrase: "People don't do such things." Ibsen includes this remark to show how Hedda ostracizes others and their actions; thus, she puts herself on a pedestal, above all in society.

In the beginning when the reader meets Hedda Gabler, one can see how she is quite a high maintenance character by how she complains that the maid has "left the French windows open... and the room's flooded with sun" (Ibsen 1469). Exerting her power over her husband, George Tesman, she demands him to draw the curtains, which he does complacently. Later Hedda notices an old hat lying on the chair and worries that someone may have seen it. When she learns that the hat belongs to Miss Tesman, George's dear aunt, she does not apologize for her comment and sarcastically describes the hat as "really smart," which shows her tendency to belittle others, even if they are family. Hedda utters to her husband, "But what a thing to do, throw her hat down in someone's drawing room. People don't do such things" (Ibsen 1470). The author depicts Hedda as a neurotic woman who criticizes the actions of others in an attempt to demonstrate her self- imposed superiority over others. Her pretentious comment introduces the theme of a high and mighty character, which readers will begin to hate, who eventually succumbs to the pressure of appearing perfect in society.

In the scene where George and Hedda receive news that Mrs. Elvsted, an "old flame" of Tesman, will be visiting, Hedda remembers her as "the one with that irritat...

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...er can assume that Hedda commits suicide beautifully, as she hoped Loevborg would do. Her motto of "people don't do such things," proves to be false because her actions are exactly what she says people do not do.

Throughout Hedda Gabler, the main character possesses much contempt for her husband, insults others, and resents a former acquaintance. Despite her considerable concern with society's opinion of her, she feels trapped within society's standards to act a certain way. Yet, in doing so, she becomes dejected from others and society as a whole. Repeatedly, she uses the following phrase: "People don't do such things," in an attempt to suppress her internal desires to be like one of those people. By the end, Hedda cannot live torn between two different realities; she chooses to behave like one of those people, and she commits suicide- beautifully, of course.
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