From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Pointed; Wry, especially with regard to all those Victorian standards

Ibsen isn’t beating around the bush here. He’s making a clear argument about the dangers of Victorian values and the damage they cause to the individual – especially to women. Hedda is miserable and ends her life when she can’t take the repression any more; this is hardly a subtle point. There’s also a bit of sardonic humor tossed in, again with regard to societal mores. Characters like Hedda and Brack obviously don’t buy into the Victorian prescription for strict living – after all, Brack is trying to have an affair with Hedda and she’s trying to goad a man into drinking. Their attitudes seem to reflect those of the playwright, who mocks these values in dry exchanges like the debate over the presence of a chaperone in Act II. Hedda doesn’t really care; she’s just playing along, and secretly scoffing at the system as she does so.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement