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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabler Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. How is the audience supposed to feel about Hedda? Does Ibsen make her detestable? Captivating? Admirable in any way?
  2. Are Hedda’s actions justified by the nature of her time period and her stifling personal life? Could you really expect much better of yourself, for example, if you were in such a situation (loveless marriage, unwanted pregnancy, bored to death, confined to the 19th century idea of a woman’s place in society, not allowed to sit alone with a man without a chaperone, etc.)?
  3. In his foreword to the collection of Four Major Plays by Henrik Ibsen, Rolf Fjelde wrote that Ibsen was interested in ideas only as long as those ideas were expressions of human beings. Is this true in Hedda Gabler? To put it differently, is this a play primarily about people, or about ideas? Do the characters seem only to represent larger issues, or are they convincing as individuals?
  4. Does the character of Aunt Rina serve any purpose in this play beyond a basic plot device (i.e., a reason for Tesman to go running off stage in Act III)? Do you see any thematic significance to her sickness and death?
  5. Throughout the course of the play, Hedda engages in some heavy (if non-physical) flirtation with Judge Brack, and even a bit with Eilert. Yet she declares she will NOT be unfaithful to George. Is there such a thing as intellectual infidelity? Emotional infidelity? Is it possible that Hedda is "cheating" on her husband without ever having sex with anyone else?

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