by Henrik Ibsen
Hedda Gabler Drugs and Alcohol Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Edmund Gosse and William Archer's translation.
I saw it plainly in Judge Brack's face a moment ago.
What did you see?
His contemptuous smile, when you dared not go with them into the inner room. (2.417-9)
Hedda must know that this sort of taunting isn’t going to do the trick; after all, what she likes about Eilert is that he doesn’t care what other people think. It seems likely that this is just her set-up, a lead-in for her to talk about Mrs. Elvsted’s earlier panic.
So she was in mortal terror! On my account!
[Looks fixedly at her for a moment. His face is distorted.] So that was my comrade's frank confidence in me?
[Takes one of the glasses of punch, raises it to his lips, and says in a low, husky voice.] Your health, Thea! [He empties the glass, puts it down, and takes the second.] (2.436-8)
Look at what actually causes Eilert’s relapse: a lack of trust and a break in what he thought was a perfect companionship with Mrs. Elvsted. This is similar to Hedda’s later disillusionment, when she concludes that she doesn’t believe in vine leaves anymore.
[Calmly, putting down the glass.] It was stupid of me all this. Thea—to take it in this way, I mean. Don't be angry with me, my dear, dear comrade. You shall see—both you and the others—that if I was fallen once—now I have risen again! Thanks to you, Thea. (2.455)
We’re not so sure Eilert means what Thea thinks he means. He says he has fallen and now rises again – but which phase was his "fall"? Thea thinks he’s talking about the two drinks he’s just downed in Hedda’s parlor, but it’s distinctly possible that Eilert is referring to his own brief reformation at the hand of Mrs. Elvsted. This would confirm one theory: that Eilert resents being reformed and feels this new lifestyle is inconsistent with his character.