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MonkeyNotes-Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
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When Mrs. Elvsted arrives, Hedda manipulates the seating so that she is in between Mrs. Elvsted and Lövborg. Hedda's jealousy is aroused when Lövborg says that Mrs. Elvsted has inspired him and that they have absolute faith in each other and can sit and talk in perfect frankness. He calls her "his comrade", a term that he had used to describe Hedda at one time. Hedda strikes back in a venomous manner. She not only goads Lövborg into drinking by betraying Mrs. Elvsted confidence that she is fearful that he will drink again. Hedda does this partly out of jealousy and partly because she too would like to mould a human destiny like Mrs. Elvsted. If she cannot do it positively, she will do it destructively. She takes keen pleasure in envisaging him with "vine-leaves in his hair." This is an image that is Dionysian and represents, the darker, more seductive side of Lövborg even though he is supposedly reformed. (More reference to vine-leaves will be made in Act III). In submitting to drink and temptation, Hedda feels he will again be "a free man for all his days." She thinks that her trust is greater than Mrs. Elvsted's, whose reformation has left him no better than a half-man and not free.


Act II thus introduces the reader to two men who vie for Hedda's attention, Lövborg and Brack, and who have a history with her besides showing Hedda's first attempt to play with destiny and thwart Mrs. Elvsted.

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