Freedom In &Quot;Hedda Gabler&Quot; Essay

800 words - 3 pages

One of the many social issues dealt with in Ibsen's predicament plays is the lack of freedom bestowed upon women limiting them to a domestic life. In Hedda Gabler, Hedda struggles with an independent intellect and satisfying her ambitions in the slender role society allows her. Incapable of being creative the way she wants, Hedda's passions become destructive to herself and others around her.

With a father that is a general, Hedda is more of a leader than an ordinary housewife. She manipulates her husband George due to the fact she is unable to have the authority she craves. She tells Thea, "I want the power to shape a man's destiny." Just the mention of her pregnancy displays impatientness and evasiveness because of her unsuitability for a domestic role. She tells Judge Brack, "I've had no leanings in that direction." This seems to point out her unwillingness to accept the burdens of motherhood. More than anything Hedda desires intellectual creativity, not just the sexual power that keeps her in a limited social function. Since her only way of displaying this power is through a "credulous" husband, Hedda is jealous of Thea's intellectual partnership with Eilert Loevborg, which produces their creative "child."

Hedda's use of her father's pistols symbolizes both her entrapment and release. On one hand the pistol she gives to Eilert ultimately finds Hedda in an "unthinkable scandal", which in its own way displays the added burden or control Judge Brack has over her now. The other pistol shapes her freedom by enabling her to make restitution to herself and forever be free. Her overall relationship with Thea is complicated by the fact that Hedda lacks Thea's courage to leave her husband and risk being cast out. Her marriage to Tessman himself shows the lack of freedom she has bestowed on herself. First she seeks power through wealth and social status by marrying him on the condition she can "keep open house" and have "a liveried footman." But she is frustrated by her "wretched poverty," while her social aspirations are oppressed by fear of a scandal. However she does attain a limited amount of freedom through the balance of security and independence she gets by marry a dull academic, who is easily occupied by "rooting around in libraries." Finally Judge Brack, who alleviates Hedda's boredom by being someone she can flirt and speak with as an equal, turns out to not be a loyal friend...

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