Eilert comes by the Tesmans’ house. George is relieved to hear that he won’t have to compete for the professor post after all.
Eilert converses with Hedda, convinced that she’s thrown herself away by marrying George. We get the whole Hedda-Eilert back-story here.
Eilert refuses to have a drink; it becomes clear that he is a recovered alcoholic.
When Mrs. Elvsted shows up, Eilert flaunts their "companionship" in Hedda’s face.
Hedda taunts Eilert about his masculinity, trying to get him to drunk. He refuses again.
Then she reveals that Mrs. Elvsted was worried about him drinking; her apparent lack of faith in him drives him to the bottle.
Eilert leaves for the stag party with Tesman and Brack, promising to come back at ten that night to escort Mrs. Elvsted home.
Eilert doesn’t come back.
The next morning, we hear from Tesman that he was quite the debaucherous drunk the night before at Mademoiselle Diana’s, and that he lost his manuscript. George has the writings now, but hasn’t told Eilert yet.
Eilert comes bursting into the Tesmans’ house later that morning. He tells Thea that he’s ripped up the manuscript –their child – into a thousand pieces and that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore, as he has no more use for her inspirational services.
Once she’s gone, he plans suicide, with Hedda’s help.
We find out later that Eilert went back to Mademoiselle Diana’s to look again for his manuscript and accidentally shot himself in the gut.