Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler Essay, Research Paper
Henrik Ibsen?s Hedda Gabler, creates three major triangulations between characters. These relationships are developed throughout the play and it is the breakdown in the relationships with Hedda that lead to the dramatic closure of the play. Hedda initiates one of the triangulations in an attempt to ?have power over a human being?s fate?. Judge Brack creates the second an unsuccessful parallel to Hedda?s own power advancing creation. Jorgan Tesman and Thea Elvested form the last triangulation in an attempt to rebirth Ejlert?s manuscript.
The first triangular relationship is between Hedda Gabler, Ejlert Lovborg and Thea Elvested. Hedda created this relationship, controlling it by relying heavily on her influence over Ejlert. Hedda?s power over Ejlert are hinted at when Hedda says ?So I, poor thing have no power over you at all?? and Ejlert replies ?Not where that?s concerned.? Suggesting that Hedda does have power over him in other areas. Tension arises when Hedda becomes jealous of his newfound success with out her, she also wishes she was his inspiration. The relationship between Hedda and Thea is hostile on Hedda?s part because Hedda is jealous of Thea, wishing to be the Red headed, pistol wielding ?woman standing between Ejlert Lovborg an me (Thea).? Hedda is jealous of Thea?s beauty, threatening to ?.. burn it off (Thea?s hair)?, and her influence over Ejlert and his work. The only way Hedda can control Thea is by controlling Ejlert and due to Thea?s loyalty and devotion consequently control Thea. Thea and Ejlert appear to be the perfect combination but tension arises between them as a result of Hedda burning their ?child?.
The second triangulation created by Judge Brack. It involves Hedda, Jorgan Tesman and Judge Brack. In this triangle, Brack tries unsuccessfully to play a role parallel to Hedda?s in the previous triangle. Brack and Hedda are from the same social circle, giving Brack an advantage over Jorgan with Hedda, Hedda accepting him more readily as a result. Jorgan is in indebted to Brack but no conflict occurs between these two characters for two reasons Brack is not looking for a commitment to Hedda and Jorgan is blinded by naivete. The relationship Brack is working towards is purely plutonic, Hedda tempts him but is unwilling to commit to this relationship. Hedda keeps the sexual tension high and doesn?t end her relationship with Brack completely because she believes that as long as she can keep him interested, and at the same time not submit to him, she can stay on top of the power struggle with Brack and manipulate him as well.
The final triangle was mutually formed between Jorgan and Thea to rebirth the ?child? of Ejlert and Thea. This triangle includes Jorgan, Thea and Hedda. Hedda is jealous of Thea?s Influence over Jorgan and is angry because she is gradually loosing her power over Jorgan because of Thea?s influence. Hedda and Jorgan obviously had a marriage purely for convenience. Jorgan is not intimate, on his honeymoon he was ?rummaging in libraries? and ?copying out old parchments?. Hedda also denies any feelings for Jorgan refusing the word love saying ?don?t use that sentimental word?, and telling Aunt Julle to ?be Quiet? when she mentions anything referring to the baby that links Jorgan and Hedda.
Up until Act Four all of these triangles were controlled by Hedda. Hedda controls the first triangle by controlling Ejlert and using alcohol on him to maintain superiority over Thea by lowering Ejlert?s social standing. Hedda controls the second triangle by not allowing Brack the relationship he yearns for. The third relationship is not active until the end of Act Four.
The dramatic closure of the play is not caused by the triangles themselves but the breakdown of Hedda?s power base as a result of the conflicts between Hedda and the other characters. After Hedda?s prompting ?do it beautifully? Ejlert commits suicide. Immediately Hedda is unable to control the first triangle, Ejlert is dead and Thea is released from the power hold Hedda had over her. Without the first triangle, Hedda turns to the second for her control, but is shocked when she discovers that Brack knows it was her gun that killed Ejlert. Brack abuses his power and uses the information to try to blackmail Hedda into the relationship he has been pushing for. Hedda cannot accept the sexual relationship, nor can she refuse, Brack has won the fight for power supremacy in his triangle. Thea and Jorgan decide to recreate the manuscript together, Hedda loses
power over Jorgan and the third triangle.
Hedda decides to solve her problem of no power by shooting herself in the temple. Hedda says ?I want, for once in my life, to have power over a human being?s fate.? Hedda still has control over her unborn child?s life. Ironically, by killing herself, Hedda destroys the baby and her potential power over it. By killing the baby Hedda, also destroys the link between herself and Jorgan the only person who could/would have saved her. In the destruction of her baby she destroys her future, people will remember Ejlert because of his ?child? but there is nothing left to remember Hedda by. The dramatic closure is caused by the destruction of Hedda?s power base in the form of triangular relationships; this destruction is caused by her own manipulation of the triangles.