Literary Review: Hedda Gabler – Сustom Literature essay

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Title: Hedda GablerAuthor: Henrik IbsenSetting: Un-named city in Norway (probably Christiania - the Norwegian capital then)Time Period: 1890Major CharactersHedda Gabler - (married name: Hedda Tesman) Daughter of an aristocratic general who spoiled her. She's used to a life of luxury in which she gets anything she wants. She is bored with her life because there's nothing new for her to see or experience. She marries George Tesman so that she won't be an oddball in society. She's nearly thirty and realizes that she's not getting any younger or desirable.

He's the only one of her suitors who grovels for her hand in marriage, so she chooses him. She immediately sees that she will be able to manipulate him into giving her anything she wants. She puts up with the fact that he's only interested in past civilizations and he doesn't satisfy any of her needs. She wants the power to shape the lives of others, and her obvious ennui wrecks not only her life, but the lives of all who come in contact with her as well. George Tesman - very kind and intelligent man. He was raised by his aunts, Juliana and Rina. He remains devoted to them, even though Rina is an invalid

He does everything in his power to give Hedda the life she's used to. He annoys not only characters in the story, but readers as well. After almost all his sentences he asks the question "Eh?" (or "What?" depending on the translation). He is a gentleman and serves Hedda as if he were her slave and not her husband. He even accepts financial support from his aunt Juliana so that he can provide the kind of life Hedda is used to, and to pay for the house he though she really wanted. He even depends on becoming the professor of history so that she'll be proud of him and they'll have more financial security.

He doesn't realize Hedda is manipulative, despises him, and doesn't even want to have their child. He believes her lies that she burnt the manuscript for him as an act of love. Judge Brack - likes to gossip and be know everything going on in people's private affairs. He has connections around the city and uses that to provide information to Tesman about his candidacy for professorship in history. He informs them of the competition from Eilert Lovborg for the professorship, and also of his death. Brack shares an intimate relationship with Hedda, and she confides in him about her boredom she has with her marriage. He tries to convince her to become his mistress, but she expresses that she has no intent of committing adultery by cheating on George.

When he realizes she provides Eilert with the medium for his suicide, he blackmails her into becoming his mistress in exchange for protection from scandal. Eilert Lovborg - a recovered alcoholic who escaped scandal through the release of a book which received great reviews. He also writes an insightful book about the future which he and Mrs. Elvsted refer to as their child. He was the confidant of young Hedda Gabler who craved knowledge of a life other than the one she was accustomed to. He's another victim of Hedda's manipulation, but unlike George, he realizes that she has a certain power over him.

He is driven to drinking excessively once again by Hedda, and ends up killing himself when he loses his treasured "child" (the manuscript), on account of his carelessness after being intoxicated. Mrs. Elvsted - convinced her husband to hire Eilert Lovborg to tutor her stepchildren. She grew attached to him and served as his personal secretary, helping him with research and writing two books. She follows him to the city, without her husband's knowledge, for fear he will become an alcoholic once again. She is kind and gentle-hearted, but not especially good at standing up for herself. When Hedda drives Eilert to have a drink, she doesn't do all she could to try and stop him from taking it.

She lets him go to Brack's party without much objection. There's also the fact that no one knows of her real situation with Eilert except for Hedda and George, and she's trying to keep it that way. Having an outburst to keep Eilert from going to Brack's party would reveal her circumstances to a key gossiper in the town, and everyone would know that she practically left her husband to be with him. Minor CharactersJuliana Tesman - "Aunt Julia" is George's aunt. When his parents died, she raised him. She is a very sweet woman who continues to take care of George's needs. She wants them to have a baby and is glad when George keeps talking of Hedda's "filling out" after the six-month honeymoon they went on. She hopes they'll be having a baby to replace Aunt Rina, who dies during the play.

She tries to get along with Hedda, but Hedda makes fun of her brand new hat, showing that because of her aristocracy and Aunt Julia's simple life, they can't overcome their differences. Berta - George and Hedda's servant. She was first Juliana's servant until she handed her over thinking that George would need her more now that he's married and may soon have children. She, like Juliana, tries to get along with Hedda, and does everything in her power to please her, but never performs up to Hedda's standards. Aunt Rina - helped to raise Tesman, plays no major role and never appears onstage. Her death serves as a reason for George to leave his house and absent-mindedly leave Eilert's manuscript with Hedda. SummaryGeorge and Hedda Tesman have just returned from a six-month honeymoon. They are resting and George wakes up to find that Aunt Julia is at his house for a visit and she has given him her servant, Berta. Aunt Julia raised him after the death of both his parents. She uses her own money to support the purchase of Hedda's "dream house." When Hedda wakes up, she is rude to both Berta and Juliana.

She complains about all the curtains being drawn open and about Juliana's hat. Tesman asks her to be kinder to Aunt Julia. They discuss Hedda's "filling out" in context of expecting a baby. Hedda is disgusted. Mrs. Elvsted arrives and tells them she's looking for Eilert Lovborg.

After Hedda and Mrs. Elvsted (Thea) are left alone, Thea confides in her that she has secretly left her husband, and that she's scared Eilert will start drinking again. After Mrs. Elvsted leaves, Judge Brack arrives. He is immediately recognized as a gossip. He tells Tesman of Eilert's return to town and successful book.

He also tells him that he is competition for the professorship at the university. He also tells him not to spend too much as he's not sure he'll win the title. Tesman tells Hedda that they have to cut back on expenses, and she gets upset. She says he can't play hostess without certain things. Brack returns later and is entering through the back. Hedda is playing with her pistols.

Brack tries to convince her to form a relationship with him parallel to the one she has with Tesman. She doesn't have any intentions of cheating on Tesman, but they form a personal bond. Hedda confides in him about her boredom in her marriage. She also explains how Tesman came about buying the house--she expressed false interest in it and he thought she really liked it. When Tesman arrives, he and Brack discuss the party.

Eilert arrives and declines having a drink and attending the party with Brack and Tesman. Instead, he stays in the room with Hedda. They speak about old times, about how curious Hedda was about his sinful life and how open and honest he was with her about his devilish deeds. When Thea arrives, she joins their conversation. When Hedda unsuccessfully tires to convince Eilert to have a drink, she informs him that it was Thea's distrust in him that caused her to follow him into town.


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