HeddaGabler by Henrik Ibsen

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Foreshadowing and Plot Clues in the Act I of Henrik Ibsen’s HeddaGabler Henrik Ibsen’s controversial and influential play, entitled HeddaGabler, is divided into four acts, and, as any good piece of literature ought to be, much of what would later on become crucial to the plot is introduced, hinted at, and foreshadowed in the first act. In this case, the character interactions are most significant, especially that of the titular protagonist, Hedda, whose ultimate destiny in the play is to be trapped in her own crafty machinations and manipulations. A close look on the actions and motivations of the characters in Act I reveal much about their innermost wishes, and considering the complications these desires face, the eventful and explosive conclusion could almost be seen from the first scenes of the play. The first significant character to appear on the pages of Ibsen’s script (and thus first to appear onstage in the theatre) is Miss Juliana Tesman, who (accompanied by her old maid Berta) visits her nephew George early one morning in the new house he had bought for his new wife, the beautiful and rich HeddaGabler. Though she does not appear until at the very end of the play, her interactions with the others here in the first act help define in the reader’s (or the audience’s) eyes the characterizations of the others as well as the setting of the play and its implications on everyone. Her visit is so early in the morning that the newly-weds are still asleep. She wears a newly-bought fancy hat, in an attempt to impress Hedda. This, and the fact that she congratulates George earnestly for having managed to marry the prettiest (and richest) woman around, shows just how much she acknowledges the marriage as something socially and... ... middle of paper ... ...s hat. Her denial of being pregnant demonstrates her unwillingness, and awareness of her unsuitability, for motherhood. She throws a silent but wrathful tantrum once alone, but recomposes herself with poise in company and refuses to use people's first names—these show that beneath her aristocratic aloofness lies her see thing fury over circumstances she cannot control. She orders George to write a letter to Eilert immediately so she would be left alone with Thea and grill her while feigning warm familiarity, indicating a sharp interest with Eilert Løvborg—the reader/audience picks up on the fact that she and Eilert had shared a part “companionship.” This, coupled with her obvious excitement over playing with guns, provides ominous foreshadowing to Eilert and her own suicide. In the end Hedda only wants freedom, but is shackled by society’s restrictions on women.

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