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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler


by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Tesman Timeline and Summary

  • Hedda enters the drawing room shortly after waking up for the first morning in her new house. She’s reserved and cold while speaking with Aunt Julie, and eventually makes fun of the woman's new hat by pretending to think it was the maid’s.
  • She resents being told that she’s "filled out" and denies the claim.
  • After Julie leaves, Hedda declares she wants a new piano.
  • Hedda and George discuss the Elvsteds and Eilert; then Mrs. Elvsted shows up.
  • When she suspects that Thea and Eilert are somehow involved, Hedda gets George to leave the room and then pumps Thea for information. She gets the whole story.
  • Brack shows up and announces that George will have to compete for the professorship; Hedda is more amused than concerned.
  • Later, she resents George telling her that she can’t have a butler or a horse. Then she very menacingly goes off to play with her pistols.
  • Hedda playfully (maybe?) shoots at Judge Brack and intentionally (maybe?) misses.
  • She engages in some playful and probably inappropriate flirtation with the Judge, which includes an admission that she just doesn’t love her husband.
  • When her husband comes home, she and the Judge share knowing, mocking looks over his stack of books.
  • George leaves and Hedda admits that she purposefully insulted Aunt Julie's hat earlier. She’s bored, she says. Also, she doesn’t want to have a baby. Ever.
  • Eilert, the recovering alcoholic, shows up. So Hedda suggests he have some alcohol.
  • She ends up alone with her ex-flame while her husband and the Judge drink in the far room. We get the back-story of their "relationship" and get to hear how it ended.
  • When Mrs. Elvsted shows up, Hedda manages to screw up her relationship with Eilert while hurling him off the wagon. All in one fell swoop.
  • When the men leave, she threatens to burn off Thea’s hair and drags her off to dinner.
  • Hedda falls asleep while waiting for Eilert to come back with vine leaves in his hair. When she wakes up, she sends Mrs. Elvsted to sleep in her bed.
  • George comes back and tells her that Eilert was involved in some drunken debauchery last night. He also shows her Eilert’s manuscript, which he recovered when dropped during said debauchery.
  • Hedda procures the manuscript when her husband rushes off to his dying aunt. She then converses with the Judge, who advises her not to see Eilert anymore, lest he impinge on their triangle set-up. He leaves.
  • Eilert bursts in, bringing Thea running from the bedroom. He tells her he’s torn up the manuscript, which Hedda knows is not true.
  • After Mrs. Elvsted leaves, Hedda talks to Eilert about the possibility of him committing suicide. She gives him one of her pistols and tells him to do it beautifully.
  • Once alone, Hedda burns the manuscript.
  • Later, when George returns, she confesses, but pretends she’s done it out of love for her husband.
  • The Judge and Mrs. Elvsted show up, and Hedda hears that Eilert is in the hospital. She ventures that he’s shot himself, and is OK with the fact that it was in the chest, not the head. She declares there is beauty in his death.
  • When George and Thea start re-writing Eilert's manuscript, Hedda goes a little nuts, playing wild music on the piano and ruffling Thea’s hair. When Brack tells her in confidence that Eilert was accidentally shot and that she is now in his (Brack’s) power, Hedda despairs.
  • She retreats to the back room and shoots herself in the temple after declaring that the Judge wants to be the only cock in the walk.