Ibsen's Hedda Gabler Essay

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Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler portrays the societal roles of gender and sex through Hedda as a character trying to break the status quo of gender relations within the Victorian era. The social conditions and principles that Ibsen presents in Hedda Gabler are of crucial importance as they “constitute the molding and tempering forces which dictate the behavior of all the play's characters” with each character part of a “tightly woven social fabric” (Kildahl). Hedda is an example of perverted femininity in a depraved society intent on sacrificing to its own self-interest and the freedom and individual expression of its members. It portrays Nineteenth Century unequal relationship problems between the sexes, with men being the independent factor and…show more content…
With no focus on Hedda’s mother we can imagine that the general did little to prepare his daughter for wifehood or motherhood. Hedda inherited his pride, coldness, and an authoritative attitude toward others of a lower rank. She lacks compassion for weak and submissive characters like Thea and Aunt Julia but has admiration for power and freedom, qualities she finds in Brack and Lövborg. Even after marrying Tesman, she keeps her father’s portrait and guns, which signifies her desire for masculine control as well as her personal form of mourning of the power she has lost by marrying Tesman. This perverse behavior can be attributed greatly to the era in which Hedda lives, because her choices are highly influenced by the male dominated society. Hedda tears down everyone throughout the play, with Lövborg and Brack as the only exception. After being born to a high standing family, her expectations of power are high, but due to her biologic form as a woman she is trapped and unable to take control, “because Hedda has been imprisoned since girlhood by the bars of Victorian propriety, her emotional life has grown turbulent and explosive” (Embler). However, after succumbing to marriage with Tesman, whom she only marries for money and respect, she loses her place in society as she, as a mere woman, cannot retain it. This slowly unwinds Hedda and eventually leads her on to her fatal path. By
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