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“Hedda Gabler is deeply preoccupied with the nature of power.” To what extent is this statement reflective of Ibsen’s play?

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Introduction

"Hedda Gabler is deeply preoccupied with the nature of power." To what extent is this statement reflective of Ibsen's play? In Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler, the nature of power is seen in the inter-relationship of the characters, led by Hedda Gabler the main protagonist. It is a complex study of Human Beings and their place in the power sphere within Hedda Gabler; their power over others, how they relate to power and how the nature of power can be destructive or put to higher purposes, depending on how it is used. The nature of power comes in several forms, in various degrees. They are the power one has over others, the power to control, to influence, power over situations, power in using other powers to satisfy one's end. Ibsen also explores the power struggles between characters, the power of good and evil, the power of Alcohol; the power society has over its inhabitants and the power of the Law. For one to understand this nature of power that Ibsen writes about, one must be aware, among other things that 'Power is knowledge and Knowledge is power'. ...read more.

Middle

Suicide exists as the final option for Hedda to exhibit control and dominance over herself and the characters in the play. Lovborg's death, which grants Brack with the ability to blackmail Hedda and allows Tesman and Mrs. Elvsted to begin a seemingly close and long relationship, deems Hedda useless within her social group. Added to this is that despite the fact that she is married to Tesman, she is still the same person she was before. She will never belong to anybody and she isn't anybody's anything, which is why she kills herself. She doesn't want her fate controlled by a child, because the child will seal the union between her and Tesman permanently. Hedda then transfers her now futile behaviour to her environment, inwards, towards herself, making her last act of control her own life. Power exerted over others and the power to influence may not always produce harmful results. Although Mrs. Elvsted gives the impression of being submissive, cowardly, powerless and ignorant, she has the special ability as a muse for Lovborg and later, Tesman, "...and then came that beautiful, happy time, when I shared his work. ...read more.

Conclusion

In reality, Hedda has no courage. Society has no power over Mrs. Elvsted because she possesses the courage Hedda lacks, which is to defy society and leaves her husband for love. It is ironic that the element that gives Hedda her power - her place and being brought up as the General's daughter in society, is also the very thing that robs her of her power and her inability to act against her world. In the play, Ibsen allows the representative of the law to be taken by a villain and it's significance lies in the fact that Brack as the judge, symbolizes the emblem of power. As a judge, he alone decides on the verdict, the fate of the person. In this case, he is in control of Hedda's fate/life. As a judge, Brack also takes the stand as a bystander, the person who sees what is going on, thus he is the only character who is not under any power. Ibsen's Hedda Gabler is the product of a mind deeply preoccupied with the nature of power. Hedda Gabler is a series of personal campaigns for control and domination: over oneself, over others and over one's world. ...read more.

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