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Hedda Gabler’s personality type is of a different character than Nora Helmer’s. She expresses herself wickedly, for her own enjoyment; not caring of other peoples feelings. Hedda has feelings of confinement and frustration, with her life, and directs her bottled up energy at people with an ill temperament. “Life becomes for Hedda a ridiculous affair that isn’t worth seeing to the end. Life isn’t tragic life is ridiculous and that’s what I can’t bear” (Henrik Ibsen’s Notes). Hedda doesn’t want to know and face the reality that she’s pregnant. For her, this would mean she is permanently trapped in her life, with no chance of escaping. Hedda ended up married to her husband George Tesman, because of a lie that she told to him about liking a house that he was writing about, to make him feel better. From there she was trapped, because he was the only man to ask for her hand, and was stuck in a loveless relationship. Whereas Nora married Torvald, because she fell in love with him when they were younger.

Hedda is living in an apollonian society, but has a great dionysian side to her personality. She wants Eilert Loveborg to come back with vine leaves in his hair, and fantasizes of romantic deaths.

HEDDA. What do you intend to do?

LOVEBORG. Nothing! Just put an end to it all. The sooner the better.

HEDDA (coming a step closer). Eilet Loveborg – listen to me. Couldn’t you arrange that – that it’s done beautifully?

LOVEBORG. Beautifully? (Smiles.) With vine leaves in my hair, as you used to dream in the old days- (Hedda 287)

Hedda supplies Eilert with the pistol to kill himself with, so he would make her fantasy of a romantic tragedy come true. When it doesn’t, and turns into a mess where she will be the one blamed, Hedda is pushed over the edge, and losses complete control. She can no longer handle her confined, impulsive feelings, and makes her death become the reality she craves.

TESMAN (shrieking to Brack). Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Can you imagine!

BRACK (in the armchair, prostrated). But, good God! People don’t do such things!

Henrik Ibsen created these two characters as an expression of life. Nora acted like a wife was expected to, making a happy home that was dependent on the head male. When she left her husband and family, it was something that was appalling and that women just didn’t do. Ibsen was conveying a message that women needed to be treated differently, like equals, and not be used as a possession to show off. A decade later he created Hedda in a society that had not changed much in regards to the attitudes of women. In the play of Hedda Gabler, he insinuates an idea of what drastic measures one might go though, to feel worthy of life. Ibsen tries to tell his audience that one has to be self-satisfied to be unselfish with others. Nora and Hedda both an excellent representation of this, thus transmitting his message to all.


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