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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler


by Henrik Ibsen

Mrs. Elvsted Timeline and Summary

  • Mrs. Elvsted shows up at the Tesmans’ house in distress. She’s worried that Eilert will get into trouble now that he’s back in the city.
  • Through her conversation with both George and Hedda and later Hedda alone, we get much of her back-story: she came as a governess to the Elvsted household and then married the Sheriff when his first wife died. He’s older than she is, and they don’t get along.
  • Eilert is supposed to be her stepchildren’s tutor, but she and he have gotten close. She’s followed him to the city and doesn’t intend to ever return to her husband.
  • She leaves after begging the Tesmans to keep Eilert out of trouble.
  • Mrs. Elvsted comes back that night and joins Hedda and Eilert in the drawing room. She and Eilert talk about the book they wrote together and their beautiful budding "companionship."
  • Then Hedda reveals to Eilert that Thea was there earlier that day, concerned for him. This upsets Thea and drives Eilert back to the bottle.
  • Once the men are gone, Hedda practically forces Mrs. Elvsted to stay and have dinner with her. Mrs. Elvsted professes her fear of Hedda.
  • That night, Hedda falls asleep while Thea stays up worrying because Eilert hasn’t come back as promised. Once day breaks, she goes to lie down in Hedda’s bedroom.
  • She comes rushing back out when Eilert arrives. She is shocked when he claims to have destroyed their manuscript, which she thinks of as their child.
  • When Eilert tells Mrs. Elvsted he wants nothing to do with her anymore, she declares there is nothing left for her and leaves.
  • The next day Mrs. Elvsted shows up, again at the Tesmans' drawing room, again very distraught. She’s heard something about Eilert in the hospital and she’s worried.
  • When the Judge explains that he killed himself, Thea argues that he must have been in a state of despair or delusion.
  • She busts out the notes she has from Eilert’s second book, and she and George set to re-writing the yet unpublished work.