Реферат: Hedda Gabler By Ibsen Essay Research Paper

Hedda Gabler By Ibsen Essay, Research Paper

Henrik Ibsen?s Hedda Gabler is not truly indicative of his vast body of work:

the protagonist is female and the play is a character study. Oddly enough,

though, Hedda does not evolve or progress throughout the entirety of the work.

Rather, she remains a cold and manipulative woman. When this fact is realized,

the only task is discovering why Hedda continues as a flat character who is

restrained from gaining the status of a hero. Truthfully, there are many

variables that shape Hedda?s life. Nonetheless, two factors in particular

stand out?her father, General Gabler, and the repressive, masculine society of

the era. Although Ibsen does not directly address these issues, he succeeds in

conveying their critical significance. A common underlying theme in Ibsen?s

work is the linking of death and music. And, as one might have deduced, this

premise is employed in Hedda Gabler. Moreover, the ever-present piano, belonging

to the late General Gabler, symbolizes Hedda?s past freedom, prior to marrying

George Tesman, as the ?General?s daughter.? A more obvious example of

General Gabler?s influence over Hedda is the large portrait of him that

dominates the ?inner? room. In fact, as Ibsen initially describes the single

set, he momentarily focuses on the presence of the portrait of the ?handsome,

elderly man in a General?s uniform? (Ibsen Act 1). With this description,

the reader is made aware of the Rhoades 2 General?s presence, even after his

death. Arguably, the most significant influence the General has over Hedda is

the fact that Hedda is unable to rid herself of her ?Hedda Gabler? identity.

It is extremely odd to be known by a name that is, in effect, a product of the

past, as Hedda has recently become ?Hedda Tesman.? Throughout the play,

Hedda is referred to as ?Hedda Gabler,? or, more simply, ?General

Gabler?s daughter.? This fact is also indicative of the kind of

?facelessness? that women of the era were often subject to. Yet another

aspect of the General?s rearing of Hedda is her unusual fascination with his

pistols. This fascination is one of the first given clues that Hedda was raised

as a boy would have been. The mere possibility of Hedda being raised as a male

is sufficient evidence to explain her underlying disdain at being a

woman?unable to express herself as a man would. Instead, Hedda simply

?contents herself with negative behavior instead of constructive action? (Linnea

91). Since she cannot express herself outright, she amuses herself by

manipulating others. The most compelling episode of Hedda?s perfected brand of

manipulation is the role she plays in the death of Eilert Lovborg, a former

love. Despite the fact that Eilert is the only person who can evoke true passion

in her, Hedda feels the need to destroy him, purely for the purpose of

?[having] the power to mould a human destiny? (Ibsen 2). Since she is unable

to directly control anyone or anything, Hedda chooses to rebel against the

society that shapes her and obliterate one of its future leaders. Needless to

say, the Victorian era of literature and society did not offer a profusion of

opportunities for young women. This fact is made abundantly clear in Hedda

Gabler. Despite the fact that society stifles Hedda, it is not the only factor

Rhoades 3 that restrains her from gaining independence, as well as expressing

herself. In reality, Hedda?s own cowardice generously contributes to her

inescapable end. But, of course, the root of her cowardice is her former life

involving her father, General Gabler. Even though Hedda takes pleasure in

creating scandal, however, she is deathly frightened of being associated with

it. One such incidence involves Thea Elvsted, Hedda?s long- forgotten

schoolmate, explaining to Hedda her current, scandalous situation concerning

Eilert Lovborg, who is Thea?s stepchildren?s tutor. Specifically, Thea is

rebelling against the conventions of society and pursuing Lovborg. Hedda,

constantly aware of scandal, responds in a predictable manner: ?But what do

you think people will say of you, Thea?? (1). This scene is the first of many

that reveals Hedda?s inability to disregard society and scandal and live the

life she has never dared to live. Indeed, the sole reason that Hedda marries

George Tesman is due to the fact that he is the only one of her suitors that

expresses an interest in marriage. Once again, Hedda?s fear of society?s

ideals for women forces her to compromise her thoughts and desires, thereby

causing her to feel jealous and trapped. ?It [Hedda?s mind] has merely gone

round and round the cage she has built for herself, looking for a way to

escape? (Ellis-Fermor 43). In other words, Hedda has come to the realization

that there is no way out of her ?place? in society, as well as life. She

will never be any man?s equal or a ?real? person. Also, much like the rest

of society, Tesman views Hedda as an object, a collectible. Finally, due to the

circumstances imposed upon her by Norwegian society, Hedda responds with the one

act of courage she has managed to muster in her short, meaningless life?she

kills herself with her father?s pistol. Rhoades 4 While Hedda is considerably

responsible for her cowardice and her failure to sufficiently express herself,

the way in which she was raised, as well as the society in which she lives, both

play major roles in the shaping of her character. If it were not for her

extenuating circumstances, as well as her solitary act of courage, one can only

speculate what she might have come to represent in contemporary feminist

literature. However, literature is not founded on speculation and guess work, it

is based on visible feelings, emotions, and actions. With this in mind, one is

forced to recognize what Hedda truly represents: the cold, emotionless product

of a disapproving and domineering society and father.

Ellis-Fermor, Una. ?Introduction to Hedda Gabler and Other Plays.? Modern

Critical Views: Henrik Ibsen. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House,

1999. 41. Ibsen, Henrik. Hedda Gabler. Ed. Stanley Applebaum. New York: Dover,

1990. Linnea, Sharon. Barron?s Book Notes: Henrik Ibsen?s A Doll?s House

& Hedda Gabler. New York: Barron?s Educational Series, 1985.

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