The day is finally here. You have found the person of your dreams and are either walking down the aisle or standing at the altar. There are many reasons why people get married; love, convenience; money; or other. Whatever dreams were being met, is up to the couple. In Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, when a person marries out of convenience, not only does it result in manipulation due to boredom, but also scandal and suicide.
Hedda Gabler, who was thought of as one of the most sought after ladies by the 1890s single men of Norway, is a newlywed, however, she only married her husband Jürgen Tesma because she needed to marry someone and that she hoped he would be famous someday. When that happens, usually boredom ensues because there is struggle to find common ground. In Hedda’s case, she preoccupies herself by manipulating people. There are several ways that she does this. In the first act, Hedda manipulates Mrs. Elvsted to talk to her about her private life. Even after she was reminded by Mrs. Elvsted that Hedda had bullied her while in school, Hedda persists, and eventually she opens up to her. Another instance occured when Hedda used some of the information she gathered from Mrs. Elvsted to tell Ejlert Lövborg (a former friend and romantic interest of Hedda’s) that Mrs. Elvsted was concerned that he would go back to drinking, which infuriates Ejlert because he thinks that Mrs. Elvsted doesn’t trust him. One of the most manipulative things that Hedda does is to convince Ejlert Lövborg to commit suicide in a poetic fashion after he lost the book he had written. With all these little mechanisms being put into place, it is no surprise that scandal accompanied these machinations.
Scandal oftentimes follows manipulative actions. With Hedda being the puppet master in many of these cases, it is of no surprise that they would end up affecting her in some fashion. One of the more prominent scandals in the beginning of the play is what exactly the relationship between Ejlert Lövborg and Mrs. Elvsted is. Being married, Mrs. Elvsted has become neglected by her husband who is several years her senior. When Ejlert Lövborg comes into play to tutor her children, a romantic spark may have been sparked. She reveals that she is fearful of him having another woman. Another major scandal occurs towards the end of the play when Judge Brack informs Hedda that one of her guns was linked to Ejlert Lövborg’s suicide. When the scandals appeared to be too much, Hedda and Ejlert found another method to escape; suicide.
As mentioned above, there is another element we have to explore; suicide as an escape mechanism. This occurs a couple of times in this play. The first time was when Ejlert Lövborg ended up shooting himself accidentally in the chest. He had obtained the weapon from Hedda and instead of doing what she asked, he blundered. Hedda, upon finding out that her gun could be traced back to her regarding Ejlert Lövborg’s suicide, there seemed to be no other option other than to kill herself.
Hedda Gabler is most definitely a tale of suicide, manipulations, and scandal. Most of it was brought on by Hedda herself. She was a misfortunate creature that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which led to her demise.
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