Hedda Gabler features a recovering alcoholic as one of its main characters. The play draws a connection between the idea of courage and the idea of drinking – surely a man must be courageous to turn his back on the rules of a Victorian society and engage in drunken debauchery? In this play, yes, that is the case. Alcoholism is interpreted as the mark of a free spirit, rather than a disease which needs to be treated.
Questions About Drugs and Alcohol
- Eilert, with clenched fists, asks Hedda why she didn’t just shoot him back in the day. Does this mean he isn’t happy with his reformed life?
- Hedda thinks that drinking again is a mark of courage on Eilert’s part. What does Eilert think? What do YOU think?
- Why is it that Hedda’s taunts about masculinity aren’t enough to drive Eilert to drink, yet mistrust on Thea’s part is?
Chew on This
Eilert was never actually reformed in the first place.
Eilert is happier as an alcoholic than he is as a reformed man.