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Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

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Hedda Gabler Review Document [Type the document subtitle] 1. Setting (time and place) The setting in Hedda Gabler is unchanged, and that contributes to the fact that it is a psychological drama. This means that Hedda Gabler was staged in one area, and the only changing factors were the characters and the interactions they had with one another. Also, the fact that the household was a clear example of the randomness of the wedding's occurrence and proof that there is no love between Tesman and Hedda. The setting takes place in Norway in 1800's and is constantly in the sitting room of the Tesman household. Also, the play takes place in autumn, and this is mentioned in the beginning of the play. This tells the reader that it is a season of death, and this foreshadows the death and decay of nature and the environment, clearly foreshadowing future death and decay within the play and its events. This is proven true later in the play, because the theme of death and decay is very apparent. Also, the unchanging setting gives the play a sense of continuity and a feeling of unchanging surroundings which puts all the focus on the play on the events that occur. This also proves how much Henrik Ibsen cares about the little details within his plays including the stage directions and dialogue between characters. 2. Use of stage directions and their importance (What, specifically, do they reveal? How does the writer use them?) In the play, Ibsen's stage directions are very detailed in showing character's emotions, revealing a character's social status (in particular revealing the social disparity between certain characters), describing physical characteristics, and also identifying characters' placement and movements. Ibsen's stage directions are especially descriptive of characters' emotions and physical appearances (in particular in their introductions in the play), as they contribute to describing various contrasting features between the characters and also to the themes of the play. The stage directions basically form the physical and psychological characterization. ...read more.


Her fear of scandal leads to her cowardice, as she is afraid to break with any social conventions. She does not develop a relationship with Eilert, even though it is suggested she has feelings for him, because that would create a scandal. Her cowardice and fear of scandal even leads to her death, but ironically this cowardly act is one of the greatest scandals in society. Bravery and courage is shown by both Thea Elvsted and Eilert L�vborg. Eilert does not care what society thinks of him, and thus shows his courage by doing what he pleases (e.g. debauchery). Moreover, Mrs. Elvsted displays her courage by running away from her home and husband as she is not satisfied with her current life. This breaks with all social expectations, but for her own benefit Thea runs away. This is a complete contrast to Hedda, as even she is unhappy in her marriage, but instead of taking action like Mrs. Elvsted, she endures her situation. This becomes a point of both jealousy and admiration that Hedda has for Mrs. Elvsted, as Hedda realizes she could never commit the same act that Thea has committed. Freedom through death: This motif is presented mostly through Hedda's view of death. She commits suicide as a way to escape and finds freedom from the undoubted scandal she would be part of with Judge Brack and Tesman forming a triangle. Moreover, L�vborg's suicide, although accidental, frees him from the embarrassment and tragedy of losing his manuscript. Hedda views L�vborg's act as beautiful as it gives her "...a sense of freedom..." From here one can identify Hedda's view on death as a way to attain freedom from her unfulfilling life. Death and decay: There is a motif of death and decay initiated by the setting of the play, as the season it takes place in is autumn. Autumn symbolizes death as represented by the falling and decay of leaves. ...read more.


She did not mold a human destiny, and has failed at her life's goal. Everything is falling apart in Hedda's life. Act 4 - Hedda: "And supposing the pistol was not stolen, and the owner is discovered? What then?" (Page 219) - Hedda's previous statement clearly shows how much her life is falling apart, and is a clear indication that Brack has leverage over Hedda's life and has the ability to manipulate her. This is one of the major contributing factors that lead to Hedda's suicide. Act 4 - Tesman: "I'll tell you what, Mrs. Elvsted, you shall take the empty room at Aunt Julia's, and then I will come over in the evenings, and we can sit and work there - eh?" (Page 220) - Tesman's previous statement clearly indicates that Hedda's attempts to foil the manuscript have failed, and that Tesman and Thea have a reconstructed bond. This is evidence that everything Hedda has done has fallen apart and that her life is in ruins. Act 4 - Tesman: "Oh, I daresay Judge Brack will be so kind as to look in now and then, even though I am out." (Page 220) - This is the final quotation that pushes Hedda off the edge; this is where Hedda sees Tesman orchestrating the Judge's blackmail, and sees that her life is totally in ruins: there is nothing left for her but death. Act 4 - Tesman: "Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Fancy that!" (Page 221) - At this point, Hedda has taken control of her own destiny, and shown courage for once in her life, ironically by running away from life itself. Also, this is a clear example of the biggest scandal that she can impose upon her name, and is very ironic as she has been running away from scandal her entire life. Act 4 - Brack: "Good God! - people don't do such things." (Page 221) - This is significant as it shows Judge Brack's conformity to society which further prompts the theme of individuality versus conformity. ...read more.

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