free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

PLOT (STRUCTURE)

In Hedda Gabler, there is no character of importance pitted against Hedda as an effective counterpoise. Tesman the dull pedant, Lövborg, the debased Dionysus figure, and Brack, the suave diplomat all bring to light some aspect of Hedda that aids in her eventual self-destruction. The two minor women in the play act as correctives to Hedda's unappealing selfish personality. The whole play pivots upon Hedda and every speech in the play is directed towards the main purpose, the revelation of Hedda's character. As the center of the play is not a problem but a personality there is less emphasis on the story and its links of cause and effect. The play develops in an episodic manner.

Act I gives a full picture of the Tesman household and illuminates all the main problems. Act II introduces the rivals, Lövborg and Brack, and Hedda's first attempt to play with destiny and thwart Mrs. Elvsted. Act III is given up to the story of the manuscript and ends with Hedda's triumph. Act IV springs the trap and undoes the triumph, forcing Hedda to accept her own counsel and use the second pistol.

When the curtain rises in Act I, George and Hedda Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon. Tesman has just been awarded a doctorate and is now known as Dr. Tesman. He is stuffy and scholarly and does not understand the questions Aunt Julia asks about a baby. He had married on the strength of being awarded a professorship in the university. However, his appointment is in jeopardy because, as Judge Brack informs him, his rival Eilert Lövborg is also competing for the post. Hedda is very cold, formal and rude with Aunt Julia, but she behaves in a very warm and cordial manner with Mrs. Elvsted because she wants to extract information from her. She gets to know that Mrs. Elvsted has taken the bold and daring step of leaving her husband and has followed Lövborg to town. She is afraid that with the success of his new book and money in his pockets, Lövborg will again revert to his dissipated ways. Therefore, she asks Tesman to invite him to his house so that he will not fall in the wrong company.


In Act II, a series of encounters occur with men in Hedda's life. Brack, an old friend, attempts to contract a "triangular friendship" with Hedda. It is through her interactions with him that the audience finds out that Hedda married in order to be secure, emotionally, financially, and socially. The audience also discovers that Hedda can be vicious as when she commented on the rude behavior of the maid for leaving her hat on a chair, knowing that it was Aunt Julia's. In this scene, Hedda's pistols come to the forefront as symbols of protection. She points them at Brack, foreshadowing his later attempt to seduce and extort her. Lövborg is also introduced in this act. He is now a reformed character and has left his days of dissipation behind him. He and Hedda had been close friends, but when the friendship threatened to develop into something more serious she broke it off, for she dreaded a scandal and was not ready for a sexual relationship. She sees Lövborg only in an idealized fashion and the newly reformed Lövborg does not conform to her romantic view of him. Therefore, she attempts to reclaim his former self by goading him to drink. When Hedda sees that Mrs. Elvsted's influence over Lövborg is considerable, she sets out to destroy it. She also betrays the secret Mrs. Elvsted had confided in her in order to break the trust between Lövborg and her. This results in Lövborg's defiant action of drinking and attending Brack's bachelor party. Hedda feels that she has liberated Lövborg and that, like Dionysus, he will return with "vine-leaves in his hair".

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 8:52:51 AM