Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Essay

Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Essay

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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 becomes agitated. Along with power comes responsibility of one’s actions, however, Hedda does not accept the responsibility of her actions.
The character of Hedda Gabler was created by Henrik Ibsen during a time when females had little access to power (Spacks 156). 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 156).
Tessman is portrayed as an extremely naive person which enables his wife Hedda to easily manipulate him (Perschon). He loves to wait on Hedda and he does not assert himself in his marriage (Spacks 16...


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...led each character in the play in some way. Her husband was obedient to her every demand, regardless of how extravagant (Spacks 162). Lovborg and Thea’s relationship was destroyed by Hedda concealing Lovborg’s coveted manuscript (Moi 441). Lovborg’s life was even ended due to Hedda’s advice. Yet when Judge Brack attempted to exert power over Hedda, she could not handle it (Spacks 161). There are many possible reasons for Hedda’s suicide at the end of the play. She may have simply gotten bored with her life, she may have realized her reality had spun out of control, or she may have not been able to come to terms with the idea of being blackmailed for the rest of her life. From the arguments presented by Spacks, the most reasonable theory as to why Hedda chose to end her life would be that she was attempting to regain the power over her own destiny she had lost (159).

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