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Character Analysis of Hedda in Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler Essay

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Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler introduces its audience to a paradoxical protagonist, Hedda Tesman. Ibsen’s delineation of Hedda presents her as a petty and frivolous woman whose sole motivation is to seek her own amusement with no regard to those around her. If some tragedy had befallen Hedda in her formative years and thus shaped her into the cold, callous woman she would become, Ibsen purposely omits this from this play: whatever judgment the audience might make of Hedda as a character must derive almost exclusively from the behaviors she exhibits in each of the work’s four acts. Ibsen does not intend for his audience to readily sympathize with Hedda. By not endearing Hedda to his audience, the subject of her suicide in the final act is…show more content…
Upon returning from their honeymoon, however, Hedda begins to realize the folly of her plan when she learns that Tesman cannot bring to fruition her ambition of climbing the social ladder. Having endured what was for her a painstakingly dull six months abroad with Tesman, Hedda must now endure the fate of a bored housewife bound in a union she dare not break for fear of impropriety. Although her general dissatisfaction with life did not directly precipitate her suicide in the play’s final act, Hedda’s disposition certainly laid the foundation for what would come. The disparity between life as a general’s daughter and the life of an uninspired scholar’s wife vexes Hedda. Ibsen’s introduction of Hedda’s father’s guns as both relics of Hedda’s past as well as the instruments of her destruction illustrate the link between her privileged upbringing and her unwillingness to shed her bourgeois mentality. Just as her father’s status helped mold her into the materialistic, self-serving woman Hedda would become, the lavish firearms he bequeathed to her also contribute to her undoing. Among the growing list of Hedda’s grievances throughout the play, the possibility of motherhood features prominently. Hedda reveals to Judge Brack in Act Two that she has no ambitions to raise children, though hints throughout the play intimate that Hedda is indeed pregnant. Hedda’s selfish
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