by Henrik Ibsen
Hedda Gabler Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Edmund Gosse and William Archer's translation.
No, no, I daresay not. But suppose now that what people call—in elegant language—a solemn responsibility were to come upon you? [Smiling.] A new responsibility, Mrs. Hedda?
[Angrily.] Be quiet! Nothing of that sort will ever happen! (2.174-5)
Throughout the play, Hedda systematically rejects all the elements of marriage and womanhood. Suspense builds since the audience knows (or at least strongly suspects) that Hedda is pregnant. We know she’s going to have to come to grips with at least this by the end of the play.
[Beside the glass door.] Oh, be quiet, I tell you!—I often think there is only one thing in the world I have any turn for.
[Drawing near to her.] And what is that, if I may ask?
HEDDA [Stands looking out.] Boring myself to death. (2.180-1)
It’s quite possible that boredom really is at the root of all Hedda’s dissatisfaction. If this is true, do her actions seem more or less forgivable?
Why, bless me—then Aunt Julia was right after all! Oh yes—I knew it! Hedda! Just fancy—Eilert Løvborg is not going to stand in our way!
[Curtly.] Our way? Pray leave me out of the question. (2.268-9)
Statements like this reflect Hedda’s resistance to marriage. She may legally be George’s wife, but she’s hardly OK with the idea of a union between them.