Hedda Gabler By Henrik Ibsen Essay

1052 words - 5 pages

Foreshadowing and Plot Clues in the Act I of Henrik Ibsen’s HeddaGabler

Henrik Ibsen’s controversial and influential play, entitled HeddaGabler, is divided into four acts, and, as any good piece of literature ought to be, much of what would later on become crucial to the plot is introduced, hinted at, and foreshadowed in the first act. In this case, the character interactions are most significant, especially that of the titular protagonist, Hedda, whose ultimate destiny in the play is to be trapped in her own crafty machinations and manipulations. A close look on the actions and motivations of the characters in Act I reveal much about their innermost wishes, and considering the ...view middle of the document...

She does this twice in three times in Act I alone: when she mentions to Berta that they might be calling George something else soon; when she asks George if he is expecting something; and when she remarks to Hedda that she has considerably “filled out” since the honeymoon. More importantly, she helps establish to the reader/audience the current financial instability of George Tesman, when she informs him that she had taken out mortgage on her pension to help him with the payments for the new house, and even brings him his old bedroom slippers. In her interactions with Hedda she establishes the latter’s difficult personality. Aunt Tesman wants George’s financial stability through Hedda, but Hedda herself seems to be problematic in many ways. However, she also in a sense defines the role of women in the time period and setting of the play (i.e. Victorian era, in Norway). Her willingness to devote her whole life to taking care of her invalid sister just so she could have a purpose in life demonstrates how women are so suppressed by society that time. The constant refrain of Victorian women was: what am I going to do with my life? All the women in HeddaGabler confronts this question, and it is this search for something to occupy her life is arguably what set Hedda in her ultimately self-destructive plotting and maneuvering game.
Mrs.TheaRysing Elvsted’s appearance also does not foretell much of the events of the succeeding acts—only one thing, but arguably one that is crucial to the plot. Mrs. Elvsted chose to occupy her life with love for Eilert Løvborg, but he has serious alcohol problems. Her extreme worry that Eilert will fall off the wagon (extreme enough that her self-proclaimed desperation pushed her to seek help from a woman who had been decidedly unfriendly to her when they were young and a man who had been her “old flame” and who is Eilert’s professional rival) almost assures the reader/audience that Eilert will indeed lapse back into alcoholism.
George Tesman’s actions shown in Act I demonstrate that he wants social status through...

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