In Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler concepts from Scandinavian folklore enhance one's understanding of the theme of the individual against the group
The Individual against the Group and Scandinavian Folklore
In Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler concepts from Scandinavian folklore enhance one's understanding of the theme of the individual against the group. These concepts explain characters' actions, the actual meaning of what the characters say, and the meaning behind the action of the play.
In Scandinavian folklore a huldre is what seems to be a woman with masculinity, one that looks for self-fulfillment but is held back because she doing so would only lead to her own destruction because her true nature is doing horrible things such as eating children and doing horrible things. When Hedda is burning Eilert Lovborg's manuscript (which he calls his and Thea Elvstead's baby) she is resuming her natural behavior as a huldre. She tries to control and manipulate everyone but the "group" always ends up on top of her, suppressing her fulfillment. Scandinavian folklore also presents us with the information of huldres being contained by or controlling others with iron, such as Hedda does with her pistols. She shoots at Judge Brack but never does so, and when he takes the guns from her he is symbolically "capturing" her, controlling her. With these same pistols Judge Brack kills Hedda; by blackmailing her she is captured in iron and died a "beautiful" death. Her death was the only way she was able to control her destiny.
Throughout the play, the characters dialogue has evidence of reference to...