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Powerful Female Characters In Theater Essay

2554 words - 10 pages

Powerful Female Characters in Theater
A craving for life and the pursuit of happiness are concepts everyone cherishes in
one way or another. Everyone’s goals and ambitions for the future vary from one to the
next, yet each person shares a common bond, each hope for their own personal happiness.
The search of the truth and the power it produces cause internal conflict during one’s
pursuit of this so-called happiness. The search for this is not made without obstacles
along the way. One must overcome the tribulations handed to him or her by his or her
society. Often women have a more difficult time breaking through the chains that society
has cast upon them. In three specific instances, Hedda Gabler from Hedda Gabler, Jessie
from ‘Night, Mother, and Sally from Lips Together Teeth Apart are all strong female
characters created to display a woman’s search for a way out of the bonds of her society.
These powerful women characters do so in similar ways as well as different ways, each
according to the plot of her own play. Hedda finds a “way out” after the internal conflict
she faces concerning her true freedom in the society that distorted her, Jessie desperately
searches for the truth while juggling the two sides of her character, death-seeking and
life-affirming, and Sally seems to begin to face, but also unleash, the harsh truth whenever
it comes to her, even at the most inopportune times. Although all of these women
approach their bondage in different ways, they all seem to accomplish the same thing: a
reality check. However, Sally accomplishes more than Hedda and Jessie because she
“faces the music” and doesn’t give up in the end by taking the easy way out, as the other
two women do. Sally, the most modern woman out of them all, has a little bit more
willpower inside of her to go on with her life and simply learns to face the truth and to not
be afraid of it.
In Henrik Isben’s Hedda Gabler, he masterfully portrays the main character,
Hedda, as “neither a monster nor a saint . . . [she] is simply a tragic character who is
destroyed by the unharmonious and irreconciliable contrasts in her own character.” Ibsen
first expressed Hedda’s emotional sterility by showing how she is unable to reciprocate in
a relationship. Hedda’s lack of freedom to act independently in the society that caused her
to believe that she would find an answer in manipulation causes her to come face to face
with reality. She is forced to realize that her efforts are futile and her manipulation is only
hurting herself. Like a young child, she can only receive without knowing how to give in
return. This highly intense interest with the lives of others is another aspect of her
emotionally empty life. While at the same time of investigating and analyzing other
people’s lives is one way for Hedda to gain some understanding of her own unsatisfied
self, she ultimately reveals that she herself is very frail, fragile, and...

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