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MonkeyNotes-Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
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Act III

It is early the next morning and Lövborg has not yet returned to escort Mrs. Elvsted home. Berte comes in with a letter she has just received for the Doctor. Hedda has managed to sleep soundly but Mrs. Elvsted could not sleep at all so Hedda persuades her to sleep in her room. When Tesman returns, he tells Hedda what a wonderful book Lövborg has written. Considering this, it is a pity that he is "incapable of taking his pleasures in moderation." He describes Lövborg's activities of the previous night. He gave a long speech in honor of the woman who inspired his work without naming her in his inebriated condition. Tesman thinks this woman to be Mrs. Elvsted. When they were taking Lövborg home, Tesman saw his manuscript on the ground and picked it up. At the time he did not return it to Lövborg or tell anyone about it as he thought that Lövborg might destroy it. Now he wants to return it immediately but Hedda prevents him from doing so. She convinces him that she wants to read it and takes it from him. Just then Tesman reads Aunt Julia's letter informing him that Aunt Rina is close to death and leaves for her bedside.

After Tesman's hurried departure, Brack pays Hedda a visit. He recounts Lövborg's disreputable adventures of the previous night. After the bachelor party, Lövborg went to Mademoiselle Diana's soiree and accused her and her friends of robbing his manuscript. There was a free for all and the police were called and Lövborg was marched to the police station. Hedda comments, "Then he had no vine leaves in his hair." Brack does not want Hedda to encourage Lövborg to meet Mrs. Elvsted in her house because he would be unwelcome if he were to force his way into the triangle." He will fight with every weapon he has to be Hedda's only admirer, to be, as Hedda puts it, "the one cock in the basket."


After delivering his threat, Brack leaves and Lövborg forces his way in. He asks Hedda if Tesman has told her anything. Hedda says that she has come to know he had an "exceedingly jolly evening at Judge Brack's." When Mrs. Elvsted comes down, Lövborg tells her that everything is over between them, that their ways must part, and that from now on he would do no work. He lies to her about his manuscript and tells her that he tore it up and threw it in the fjord. Mrs. Elvsted is devastated and compares it to his killing a child - their child. When they are alone, Lövborg confesses to Hedda that he had actually lost the manuscript and that he wanted to spare Mrs. Elvsted from hearing the worst, for "Thea's pure soul was in that book;" and that there was no future possible for the two of them now. He intends to end his life and Hedda gives him one of her pistols asking him to "do it beautifully." After he leaves with the pistol, Hedda takes the manuscript and burns it declaring, "Now I am burning your child, Thea! Your child and Eilert Lövborg's."

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