Henrik Ibsen portrays a microcosm of 19th century Norse society in his drama Hedda Gabler. Hedda, the supporter, exhibits a mixture of masculine and feminine traits due to her alone upbringing under General Gabler and the societal mores imposed upon her. However, although this society venerates General Gabler because of his military position, his girl Hedda is non tolerated due to her non-conformity to the accepted gender stereotypes.
Hedda ’ s gender-inverted matrimony to Jorgan Tesman, her desire for power and her usage of General Gabler ’ s handguns are unacceptable in her society and motive of “ One doesn ’ t do such a thing! ” that is alluded to during the drama and expounded upon Hedda ’ s decease that shows that Hedda ’ s unsure stance between masculine and feminine gender functions and their associated traits is non tolerated by her society.
Ibsen employs a reversal of traditional gender functions within Hedda and Jorgen Tesman ’ s matrimony to underscore Hedda ’ s masculine traits. Hedda displays no emotion or fondness towards her hubby Jorgen. This visual aspect of indifference is a trait that is normally common to work forces: Tesman – “ My old forenoon places. My slippers look! I missed them awfully. Now you should see them, Hedda. ” Hedda – “ No thanks, it truly doesn ’ t involvement me ’ .
In another gender function reversal, Hedda displays a fiscal consciousness, which her hubby, Jorgen does non posses. Although Brack corresponds with Tesman about his honeymoon travels, he corresponds with Hedda refering the fiscal affairs. This is a function that is normally reserved for work forces.
Hedda does non merely expose traits, which are definitively masculine, or feminine, she besides objects to and frequently defies the conventions established for her gender by society. She rejects mentions to her gestation as a reminder of her gender: Tesman – “ Have you noticed how plump ( Hedda ’ s ) grown, and how good she is? How much she ’ s filled out on our travels? ” Hedda – “ Oh be quiet! ” Hedda is reminded non merely of her feminine function of female parent and nurturer here, but besides as married woman and “ extremity ” to Tesman: “ And to believe is was you who carried off Hedda Gabler! The lovely Hedda Gabler! now that you have got the married woman your bosom was set on. ”
As a adult female of the haute middle class, Hedda is “ sought after ” and “ ever had so many supporters ” and has been “ acquired ” by Tesman as hide married woman. Hedda resents the gender conventions that dictate that she now “ belongs ” to the Tesman household – a state of affairs that would non happen were she a adult male: Tesman – “ Merely it seems to me now that you belong to the household ” Hedda- ” Well, I truly wear ’ t know ”
Although these traits displayed by Hedda are masculine, they are non those, which her society can non digest. To entertain herself in her “ tiring ” matrimony she plays with her male parent ’ s, General Gabler ’ s, handguns: Hedda – “ Sometimes I think I merely have a endowment for one thing tiring myself to decease! ” “ I still have one thing to kill clip with. My handguns, Jorgen. General Gabler ’ s pistols ” Jorgen – “ For goodness ’ sake! Hedda darling! Don ’ t touch those unsafe things! For my interest, Hedda! ” . These handguns are a symbol of maleness and are associated with war, a interest which adult females are excluded from other than in the nurturing function of nurses and are therefore non tolerated by society.
Tesman implores Hedda to discontinue playing with them, but even his “ superior ” place as her hubby does non deter Hedda, who is found to be playing with them by Brack at the beginning of act two. Brack besides reminds Hedda of the inappropriate nature of her “ amusement ” and physically takes the handguns off from Hedda. Hedda – “ I ’ m traveling to hit you sir! ” Brack – “ No, no, no! Now halt this bunk! ” [ taking the handgun gently out of her manus ] . If you don ’ t head, my beloved lady. Because we ’ re non traveling to play that game any more today. ”
As a analogue to Hedda ’ s masculine game of playing with General Gabler ’ s handguns, Hedda plays the traditionally female function of a “ minx ” with Brack. Hedda – “ Doesn ’ t it experience like a whole infinity since we last talked to each other? ” Brack – “ Not like this, between ourselves? Entirely together, you mean? ” Hedda – “ Yes, more or less that ” Brack – “ Here was I, every blessed twenty-four hours, wishing to goodness you were home once more ” Hedda – “ And there was I, the whole clip, wishin g precisely the same”
At the beginning of act two, Hedda encourages Brack ’ s flirting with her by stating him the true nature of her matrimony to Tesman that it is a matrimony of convenience: Brack – “ But, state me I don ’ t rather see why, in that instance er ” Hedda – “ Why Jorgen and I of all time made a lucifer of it, you mean? Hedda – “ I had merely danced myself out, my beloved sir.
My clip was up. ” Brack is emboldened by Hedda ’ s looking handiness and pursues the impression of a “ triangular relationship ” with Hedda. Not merely does Hedda ’ s “ flirtatious ” behaviour towards Brack exhibits the feminine side of her nature, it besides demonstrates that in some cases she conforms to society ’ s outlooks of females. Hedda ’ s mention to “ ( her ) clip ( being ) up ” shows the socially recognized position that adult females must get married, because they are non venerated as old maids. By conforming to this facet of her society ’ s mores and get marrieding before she becomes a socially unacceptable old maid, Hedda demonstrates that she is undeniably female and accepts this.
Hedda ’ s invariably seeks power over those people she comes in contact with. As a adult female, she has no control over society at big, and therefore seeks to act upon the characters she comes into contact with in an emulation of her male parent ’ s socially venerated function as a general. Hedda pretends to hold been friends with Thea in order to beg her assurance: Thea – “ But that ’ s the last thing in the universe I wanted to speak about! ” Hedda – “ Not to me, dear? After all, we were at school together. ” Thea – “ Yes, but you were a category above me.
How awfully frightened of you I was in those yearss! ” Once Hedda learns of Thea ’ s scruples about Lovborg ’ s newfound resoluteness, she uses it to destruct their “ chumminess ” . Hedda – “ Now you see for yourself! There ’ s non the slightest demand for you to travel approximately in this deathly anxiousness ” Lovborg – “ So it was lifelessly anxiousness on my behalf. ” Thea – [ quietly and in wretchedness ] Oh, Hedda! How could you! ” Lovborg – “ So this was my companion ’ s absolute religion in me. ”
Hedda so manipulates Lovborg, by disputing his maleness, into traveling to Brack ’ s unmarried man party and restarting his bibulous ways of old. Hedda ’ s “ wages ” for this is to happen that Lovborg ’ s manuscript, his and Thea ’ s “ kid ” falls into her custodies, where she burns it, therefore destructing the kid and alto the relationship, both of which Hedda was covetous of.
Similarly, Hedda seeks to force her hubby, Jorgan, into political relations: “ ( I was inquiring ) whether I could acquire my hubby to travel into political relations ” This would raise Hedda ’ s societal standing and let her to achieve and keep power. Hedda ’ s use of people in order to achieve power is a trait that is stereotypically prevailing in work forces. The society of 19th century Norway venerates the image of submissive, inactive passive and pure adult females. Functions of power are usually allocated to work forces in such a society.
The society in Hedda Gabler demonstrates its intolerance of Hedda ’ s masculine behavior by lending to her decease. Hedda is found to be playing with her handguns in act two by Brack. After dishonoring himself and returning to his “ immoral ” ways at Hedda ’ s behest, Lovborg is manipulated by Hedda into “ taking his life attractively ” and she gives him one of General Gabler ’ s handguns. However Lovborg dies from an inadvertent lesion to the tummy instead than a patrician decease from a slug to the caput and Brack, using his place of power within the judicial system, sees the handgun that he by chance killed himself with.
Recognizing it as being General Gabler ’ s handgun, he returns to Hedda to interest his claim. Hedda refuses to be in the power of Brack, she had been “ heartily thankful that ( he had ) no power over ( her ) ” nevertheless, her fright is realised as Brack attempts to coerce his manner into a “ triangular relationship ” with Hedda ( and Tesman ) in return for non exposing the dirt that she had provided Lovborg with the instrument of his decease.
Hedda is “ as fearful of dirt as all that ” and takes her life, ironically avoiding the dirt environing Lovborg ’ s decease and yet doing a dirt refering her ain. Hedda ’ s masculine penchant for the handguns to any feminine undertaking of housework and her fright of dirt due to non conforming with society ’ s accepted gender functions leads her to kill herself, therefore showing that things which “ one doesn ’ t do ” are non tolerated by her society of 19th century Norway.