The conflict between society and the individual and the individual in conflict with its own desires is at work in Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler. From the outset it must be stated that the play revolves around the manipulative, yet attractive figure of Hedda Gabler. There are no other characters that form a counterpoise to her. They are merely put in to highlight her inadequacies and her reactions. As such Hedda Gabler is both the protagonist as well as the antagonist in the play. She is highly imaginative and has an intense appetite for beauty yet she is mean, envious, insolent, cruel and unable to break from societal norms. At heart, she is a coward but still wants to control the destiny of other people. She concentrates on the destructive efforts of an unfulfilled, frustration living in a state of perpetual boredom because she dare not risk a fight with society about what is conventional and what is not. It is easier to practice hypocrisy than to endure ostracism. She is neither a saint nor monster, simply a tragic character who is destroyed by the unharmonouous and irreconciliable contrasts in her own character and society.
Hedda needed to marry in order to gain economic security, so she sought out Tesman, who is delighted to marry a woman of such character and social standing. At the same time she marries Tesman because he is safe, she is vary frustrated in her marriage. Hedda rebels against the prospect of bearing Tesman a child because this is what society dictates should be the natural destiny of a married woman. Tesman treats Hedda as if her only ambition is to have material luxuries and he does not attempt to accommodate her needs at all. She is part of the house he has just bought and her role is to maintain the household. He is blind to Hedda's emotional and psychological needs, she finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage but unable to break away because she fears censure and scandal. She will never do the unconventional thing. This...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document