• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent does Ibsens Hedda Gabler update the conventions of Greek tragedy that can be found in Euripides Medea?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent does Ibsen's 'Hedda Gabler' update the conventions of Greek tragedy that can be found in Euripides' 'Medea'? 'But now comes the funny part, Hedda. Or should I really say the tragic part!'1 From the outset, Henrik Ibsen's realist play 'Hedda Gabler' perverts and mutates the conventions of Greek tragedy which can be found in Euripides' drama, 'Medea'. But to what extent does it do this? It can be seen, at least from the surface, 'Hedda Gabler' is re imagining Greek tragedy to the greatest of extents, insofar as, in the quotation above, the characters themselves are unsure as to what genre this play, which presents so many Aristotelian conventions, such as the idea of a clear exposition and temporal intensity, found throughout Medea, is representing. In this essay, I will show how Ibsen has subtly and successfully manipulated Euripides' classic to his own ends, and how, in my opinion, he updates the conventions found therein to a great extent in order to further his own desires of dramatic impact, increase the importance of the character of Eilert Loevborg, and to make the bathetic death of Hedda Gabler allow the audience to truly question the nature of the play. When answering this question it is vital to consider the elements of farce that make the genre of this text questionable. ...read more.

Middle

The climatic and cathartic death of Hedda Gabler herself is a crucial point in the play to examine in order to fully answer the question. It holds many links to the Greek tragedy that it echoes, as, much like any action during a Greek tragedy, it occurs off-stage. However, there is much more connecting her death with the traditions and conformations of Aristotelian theatre than simply the location; it is necessary to examine the cause, and the farcical final line of the play. Once again the theme of farce is very much present, we see how Brack exclaims, rather than focusing on the horror of the event, is instead shocked at the lack of decorum, 'But, good God! People don't do such things!'7Brack considers her death a social lapse, inconsiderate even, rather than a horrific and tragic revelation about the grip of patriarchy. Ibsen has chosen to comment on the rule of patriarchy in this fashion by perverting the original purpose of the off-stage action, which was either for practical purposes, or because, to the Greek audience, the consequences of such actions were far more important than the depictions of the acts themselves. Medea herself can be heard from off-stage before her appearance, 'Oh misery! ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, throughout this essay I have attempted to show and explain how Ibsen, in his play Hedda Gabler, has updated and twisted the conventions of Greek tragedy that can be found within Euripides' classic tragedy Medea. I have examined how the death of Hedda, in particular the location and reaction to it, utilises and manipulates convention to create drama and enable the audience to draw their own conclusion from the action. The nature of the Thespian Loevborg, and how Hedda lives through him, shows how Medea's character has been twisted and changed, that Hedda is no longer seeking revenge and equality, in the perhaps two dimensional Euripidean world that Medea inhabits, but also control and success. I believe that there are many ways in which Ibsen has updated the conventions of Greek tragedy, and that it is the use of farce throughout that presents this text as a truly modernised Greek tragedy. 1 Ibsen, Henrick, Hedda Gabler, Methuen Drama Student Editions, 2002 Methuen Publishing Ltd. P. 76. 2 Hedda Gabler, p. 99 3 Euripides, Medea, Cambridge University Press 1999, l.840 4 Hedda Gabler, p. 45 5 Medea l.298 6 Hedda Gabler, p. 37 7 Hedda Gabler, p. 104 8 Medea, l. 88 9 Hedda Gabler, p. 64 10 Medea, l. 398 11 Hedda Gabler p. 95 12 Hedda Gabler p. 99 C. Wild ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How do Medea and Hedda Gabler combine tradition and unconventionality within their roles as ...

    3 star(s)

    To Jason she was "all obedience" meaning that despite the potency of her supernatural abilities, she still decided to obey Jason as the authority figure of the house and thus ensuring the continuation of the traditional political balance of a Greek family structure.

  2. What is the role and function of the Messenger in Antigone and Medea?

    In Medea, the Messenger concludes his report with the discomforting note that 'Happiness is a thing no man possesses.

  1. Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

    The play's style is very unique and it contributes to the idea that the play is a psychological drama. This fact tells us that every aspect of the novel and every word is significant, and this can clearly be seen by the detailed and highly important stage directions that are available at the beginning of each act.

  2. Setting and its influence on the female characters in Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, ...

    the man who also invaded her body - he beat and raped her countless times while she was under interrogation.

  1. Discuss the use of character foils in highlighting aspects of female protagonists in Sophocles ...

    Furthermore, when Antigone is placed side by side with the quiet and composed Ismene, her propensity as a blatant rebel is reinforced. Sophocles categorizes Ismene as the epitome of an ideal Athenian woman 1as her abject submissive coincides with Euripides' declaration: "A modest silence is a woman's crown."

  2. Comparison of 'Rebellious Maidens' withing Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and Sophocles' Antigone

    (Hedda Gabler, Act 2, 271) This comment from Hedda seems cruel, yet it is tolerable for Hedda to do such a thing because her role as an aristocrat permits her to. In each society, a woman plays a particular role, depending on her position. During the ancient Greek civilization, Theban women did not have as many rights as men, who were more privileged.

  1. To what extent can society be blamed for the isolation in the lives ...

    This could be a way of lingering onto memories, but also a way of isolating his kind of people with the help of wearing this hat. This can be proven, when in the end, Holden gives away the hat to Phoebe and she wears it, and it?s as if its

  2. To what extent was President Richard Nixon responsible in the Watergate scandal in 1972-1974?

    He immediately informed the police and gangs of five people were arrested. The five men Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martínez, and Frank Sturgis were arrested . During their trials the five men were connected to the “Watergate Seven “ who were a part of the Committee to Reelect the President.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work