Use of Theme, Setting, and Time in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler

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Use of Theme, Setting, and Time in Hedda Gabler Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen, is a work about a woman who manipulates the fates of others in order to fulfill her own desires. The title character is a woman who has recently returned from a six month "honeymoon" with her groom, Tesman, a man whom she does not love. She yearns for freedom, but she feels as if she cannot leave her marriage. To occupy her time, she manipulates the lives of everyone around her. Hedda kills herself after becoming engorged in her own manipulations. Through the use of theme, setting, and time period, Ibsen produces a work that uniquely portrays the sources of the motivations of this manipulative woman. Whether it be the burning of her former love’s manuscript or supplying him with the pistol to shoot himself, Hedda’s malevolence shows the ability of man to have total disregard for the life of another. Hedda coldly manipulates the lives of everyone around her. Through these manipulative actions, she ruins the lives of all of her acquaintances. Because she is not happy in her marriage, she attempts to forbid anyone else to live a content life. For example, after she persuades Eljert Lövborg to consume alcohol, he ruins his reputation and loses something that is most precious to him: the manuscript of a book that he had been writing with Mrs. Elvsted. Although Hedda realizes the importance of this manuscript to both Lövborg and Mrs. Elvsted, she chars it. Because Lövborg and Mrs. Elvsted have put their souls into this manuscript, Hedda metaphorically relates her action to burning their child. This cold thoughtlessness demonstrates Hedda’s disregard for the life of a fellow human being. Hedda’s actions ultimately lead to her demise. After giving ... ... middle of paper ... ...nnot manipulate her own life. She does not want to remain in her marriage, but she lacks the courage to get out of it. Because of the times and her situation, she feels that she cannot leave her husband. It seems as if these manipulations are a sick form of entertainment for Hedda. One could regard this play as a purely feminist work or as the story of a woman who has no regard for human life. In either way in which it is regarded, Ibsen realistically portrays the motivations of Hedda Gabler through his use of theme, setting, and current events. Works Cited Hemmer, Bjorn. "The dramatist Henrik Ibsen." http://odin.dep.no/ud/nornytt/ibsen.html Ibsen, Henrik. Four Major Plays: A Doll’s House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Mazer, Cary M. "Hedda Gabler." http://www.english.upenn.edu/~cmazer/hedda.html.

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