Hedda Gabler takes place in Norway in the late 1800s. Women are restricted by Victorian values and prevented from having any real lives of their own. As such, they exist only in relation to men. The women in this play all seek to solve one fundamental problem: what to do with their lives. Emptiness and malaise are the only common factors between them, however, as the various "solutions" to this "problem" differ greatly.
The three women in Hedda Gabler – Mrs. Elvsted, Miss Tesman, and Hedda herself – all come up with different solutions to the "problem" weighing on women in the Victorian era. Only Hedda’s solution is successful.