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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler


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.

Quote #1

[Goes up the room.] Well, I shall have one thing at least to kill time with in the meanwhile.
[Beaming.] Oh thank heaven for that! What is it, Hedda. Eh?
[In the middle doorway, looks at him with covert scorn.] My pistols, George.
[In alarm.] Your pistols!
[With cold eyes.] General Gabler's pistols. [She goes out through the inner room, to the left.] (1.500-4)

In Ibsen’s time, pistols would have been decidedly male objects. Hedda’s proclivity for them remind us that she lacks typical feminine characteristics. It’s also important that she refers to them as "General Gabler’s pistols." She’s almost channeling her father (and his masculinity) here.

Quote #2

Not even—the specialist one happens to love?
HEDDA Faugh—don't use that sickening word! (2.54-5)

Again, Hedda shies away from female emotions AND from the institution of marriage.

Quote #3

I had positively danced myself tired, my dear Judge. My day was done—. [With a slight shudder.] Oh no—I won't say that; nor think it either! (2.65)

Hedda suggests that she married because she had to; that’s what women do in this day and age. When she says that her "dancing" was up, she means that her single time had run out. George was simply the best of many evils, it seems.

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