Hedda Gabbler Term Paper

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Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabbler

Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Johan Ibsen wrote the play Hedda Gabler in 1890 that earned confusion and puzzlement among the masses as the exact theme and the writer's idea behind the play and its characters were not apparent as it did not convey any direct message. The main character of the play is that of Hedda Gabler, daughter of General Gabler who married Tesman out of sheer frustration because she was getting old and could not find a suitable and rich match for herself. This report is a query into the reason behind Hedda committing suicide at the end of the play?

The character of Hedda is that of a woman who had to live by the norms of the society that are mainly laid by men and who did not find the rebellion to these norms as an alternative to fulfill her desires to living a wishful life. Rather she endures the cultural limitations thinking that these are the boundaries that are set for her and crossing over would tarnish her much beloved repute. Being too much caring of the societal norms, she selected a life of comfort and respectability that was guaranteed in marrying Tesman. However, she soon became bored and frustrated with this life where there was no love
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and passion. Tesman was unaware of the feelings of his wife Hedda and also to her physiological and emotional state that demanded love and caring and affection. Instead, he was too engrossed with his own occupations.

Then the character in the later part of the play, Lovborg, brings a ray of light in Hedda's unfortunate but 'comfortable life'. In him, Hedda found a companion and a friend who apparently understood her emotions and feelings. But fearing that Hedda and Lovborg acquaintance would reap results that would bring bad name to the respectable Hedda, she decided, being distraught of her own disability to control life of others, especially Lovborg, she tells him to shoot himself, and that too with gratitude and beauty. But when he died without fulfilling the request of dying beautifully, Hedda commits suicide. Before dying she said "What curse is it that makes everything I do seem ludicrous and mean?" (Part IV, Act I)

Here the question arises as to why did Hedda commit suicide? Was it pure jealousy from Thea and Lovborg relationship that she could not tolerate any longer, or was it because she could do nothing with her life anymore and she became too much frustrated? Or was it because she was tired of manipulating other people's lives or was that she was a failure and the fear of more failure made her commit suicide? There may be many assumptions from the end…

Sources Used in Documents:


Ibsen, Henrik (2001) Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler: English Version by Doug Hughes (ed), Dramatist's Play Service

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