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MonkeyNotes-Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
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All this does not mean that she does not desire to see the other side of life forbidden to her. In fact, Eilert Lövborg describes all his disreputable adventures to her and it is through him that she can vicariously experience a world that is not available to her. When Lövborg proceeds to make advances to her, Hedda makes the cowardly choice of keeping within the demands of conventionality and threatens Lövborg with her father's pistols. Hedda, deprived of her lover, now finds that a life of conformity without faith involves something more terrible than the utmost ostracism - boredom.

She is extremely envious of Mrs. Elvsted because Elvsted has managed to wield power over someone. She has helped Lövborg reform his ways and abetted him writing his books. Mrs. Elvsted has the courage of her convictions, unlike Hedda, and is willing to risk her reputation to be with Lövborg. Yet this new tamed Lövborg is unappealing to Hedda. She still envisions him with "vine-leaves in his hair." Therefore in order to restore that image of him, Hedda tempts him back to drinking. In luring Lövborg back to drink, she believes he will regain his Dionysian self and be henceforth "a free man for all his days." Instead his death is ignominious. Her romantic illusion that Lövborg had the courage to perform an act of spontaneous beauty is shattered and she now finds herself in the clutches of Brack who increases his hold over her. After all her attempts to manipulate people so she can remain free of responsibility and emotional attachments, she finds herself subjugated to this man who appears ruthless and cunning.

Hedda's suicide becomes the only way she can express herself within the world she has created. Violence and destruction are powerful and appealing to her. At first, she has attempted to destroy other people but in the end she turns on herself by commiting suicide "beautifully," the way she exhorted Lövborg to do. When Brack exclaims, "Good God! - People don't do such things," he represents the voice of society that Hedda is rebelling against. This society provides limited roles for woman and therefore unique women such as Hedda must suffer internally and use their creative forces in a destructive way. In a way, Hedda's suicide is the only positive action on her part in the play.


Secondary Characters in Hedda Gabler

The play revolves around the character of Hedda Gabler. She is strong in her intellectual dishonesty and refuses to face her life, her limitations or her creditors. She has no self-awareness or responsibility and has attempted to protect herself by repressing her emotions. There is neither progression nor conflict in her character. From the beginning, she is shown as being envious of others and proud.

Since the play works towards the revelation of Hedda's character there is no strong counterpoise. The other characters serve to give insight into Hedda's character since she does not reveal much about herself.

Mrs. Elvsted and Aunt Julia's characters act as representations of accepted womanhood in the 19th century. They are women who conform to the limited roles imposed upon them by a male- oriented society. Aunt Julia has never married yet has brought up her orphaned nephew Tesman. She also looks after her invalid sister and intends to look after more invalids after her sister's death. She puts up with Hedda's insults only because she thinks Hedda is going to perpetuate the Tesman name. Mrs. Elvsted marries an elderly man because the options open to her are limited. However, she is more courageous than Hedda for she is willing to overthrow all conventions and follow Lövborg. She has inspired his genius and helped him channel his undisciplined energies into something creative. Even after his book is destroyed, she tries to retrieve the situation by collating his notes with Tesman's help.

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