Essay on Othello and Hedda Gabler: Breaking from Tradition

1825 Words Jul 29th, 2013 8 Pages
Lia Thompson

Dr. Jacqueline Petropoulos

GL/EN 2632

Breaking From Tradition

Men and women and their actions, thoughts, and behaviours have been at the centre and focal point in several types of literature. The relationships between one another have been portrayed in various ways, each one representing each gender differently. The representation of women has been a common and controversial subject. The female gender roles depicted in each time period have always been present in literature throughout history. These traditional female roles that society has placed on women have not always been evident. Even with different time periods, there has always been a break in the traditional female roles. Traditional female roles have
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Desdemona does not stand for these accusations thus she replies to Iago saying “Oh, fie upon thee, slanderer!” (Shakespeare 2.1.124) Not only is Iago insulting Emilia, but also his statements are referring to women in general. Desdemona says, “These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh/ I’th’alehouse” (Shakespeare2.1.136-37). Desdemona is outraged by Iago’s accusations and argues these statements are something a man of lower class and intellect would say. Desdemona fights back against Iago showing she’s not afraid to defend herself and her gender. She is a free spirit that speaks up for herself even though it may not be in the boundaries of societies conventions.

Hedda is equally rebellious and independent in her choices as Desdemona. Hedda is also a newly wed and has just come back from her honeymoon with Jürgen Tesman. In a traditional society, it is custom for a woman to take the last name of their husband. This custom is recognized in societies everywhere, but Hedda becomes the exception. She is the only character that refuses to take her husband’s name. Hedda, being the stubborn rebellious individual does not conform to this tradition because it takes her identity away from her. Ibsen called his play Hedda Gabler to symbolize the break away from the traditions of society. The use of her maiden name symbolizes her independence, which she affirms repeatedly

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