The Power Of Power In Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler

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During the 1890s, females were expected to accept the idea that men had more power in society (Spacks 155-156). Hedda Gabler is an example of a female character who deliberately refutes this idea, and does this in an unconventional way. Instead of attempting to gain power within society through politics or academic achievement, Hedda’s lust for power is satisfied by exerting control over the people around her. Tessman, Hedda’s husband, is defenseless to Hedda’s control throughout the play, however Hedda finds little enjoyment in controlling him (Spacks 157). Hedda finds more pleasure in manipulating their friend Thea and Lovborg’s, lives and this is evident throughout the play. Conversely, when Hedda is subject to someone else’s control, she…show more content…
However, this does not stop Hedda from attempting to control the other character’s lives. At one point in the play, she even declares “Just once in my life I want the power to shape a human destiny” (Ibsen 888). Ironically, she has little control over her own life and somewhat more control over the people around her (Spacks 156). For example, her marriage to Tessman was hardly a result of her own desires. In fact, Hedda does not even believe in love, she married mainly due to the fact that “she was not getting any younger” (Spacks…show more content…
Once Lovborg realized his manuscript had gone missing, he visited Hedda in a panic. Although Hedda has the manuscript, she remains silent and allows Lovborg to continue to stress. Hedda then watches the scene before her unfold with glee, knowing she is in a position of power (Moi 441). Without his manuscript, Lovborg may potentially lose Thea as a partner as well as his chance at becoming a respected academic. Hedda could have simply told Lovborg and Thea that the manuscript was safe and simply misplaced, however she refrained from telling them anything and continued to dictate how the situation played out. Hedda then managed to convince Lovborg that his chances of being with Thea had diminished since he no longer has his manuscript. Because of this, she insists that he should take up drinking once again in order to refresh himself (Salem Press Encyclopedia of Literature n.p.). Lovborg takes Hedda’s poor advice, however things do not turn out in his favour and he ends up feeling defeated. Because Lovborg is down on his luck, Hedda further manipulates him to commit a “beautiful” suicide (Moi 445). When he fails to end his life beautifully, Hedda reacts with disappointment, yet is still thrilled by the action that is now upon the characters (Ibsen 905). In fact, Hedda even provided Lovborg with a gun to end his life with. Hedda believes that death
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