Hedda Gabler Essay, Research Paper
In Henrik Ibsen?s 1890 play, Hedda Gabler, we meet the beautiful, spoiled, self-absorbed Hedda. She is the aristocratic daughter of the later General Gabler. The entire play takes place in one room and revolves around the destructive behavior of one woman. Hedda marries, manipulates and masterminds a frivolous life that ends in her suicide. This suicide is a predictable ending for such a cold, dispassionate beauty as Hedda. It is the bold act of a woman who chooses death, over complex living.
As the play ends, Hedda is caught in a web of destruction. She has burned Lovberg?s manuscript and jealously manipulated his suicide. She alone is responsible for his inelegant death and “the child”. Hedda may have even gotten away with her actions except for Judge Brack. It is his suspicion and his knowledge that Hedda is fearful of scandal, that force her into a corner, “Yes, the scandal ? of which you are mortally afraid” (Ibsen 70). “And what conclusions will people draw from the fact that you did give it to him?” (Ibsen 70). Hedda sees her life becoming crippled by Brack?s control, “I am in your power none the less. Subject to your will and your demands. A slave, a slave then!” (Ibsen 71). She cries, “No, I cannot endure the thought of that! Never!” (Ibsen 71). Judge Brack threatened Hedda because it gave him control over her. Brack had long been infatuated with her beauty and wanted Hedda as his mistress. He
was eager for the possibilities, this new relationship could create, but he did state he would not abuse this privilege. Being just a little closer was good enough for the judge. Because Hedda is a compulsive controller, Brack?s proposal is terrifying. Instead of taking this circumstance to add adventure to her supposed boring life, she refuses to accept Brack?s offer. Hedda?s attitude moves the play to its predicable ending. Hedda has married a dull minded man who loves his work, “But I! How mortally bored I have been” (Ibsen 43 ). Hedda chose Tesman because she thought he would be able to provide her with more financial benefits. It was an appropriate action for a woman of this time period to pick a mate for “correctness and respectability” rather than love. In her boredom, she is angry she did not have the courage to love Elibert Loveberg and is jealous that Mrs. Elvsted plays such an important role in Loveberg?s life. Now Hedda?s life will revolve around an unwanted pregnancy and a blackmailing bastard. True to her nature, Hedda exterminates what she cannot control. This time it is herself! While Tesman and Mrs. Elvstad begin work on restoring Lovberg?s manuscript, Hedda goes to her bedroom and “beautifully” shoots herself in the head.
Hedda Gabler?s suicide was a great act of cowardice for many reasons. She ignored the value of life itself, the ability to change and the courage to accept the consequence of her previous actions. But most importantly, in her self-centered apathy, she boldly commits the murder of her unborn child. Unlike Lovberg, Hedda is unemotional and cold in ending her life. She simply gives up because she sees no self-indulging reason to live, “after this I will be quiet.” (Ibsen 71)