Hedda Gabler

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When Hedda first enters, she explains, "The room needs fresh air". How important is the idea of oppression and confinement to the drama of the play?

The main topic of this play concerns the role of the women in a conventional society, how oppressed they are and forced to follow a track that constrains. They are forbidden from expressing themselves; Ibsen shows that for some women those rules and values are fatal.

The entire play takes place in the living room of Hedda and George's house. Hedda is confined to this living room. George says that all he dreamed of was to see her as the hostess of the house: “Yes, if you only knew how I had been looking forward to it! Fancy-to see you as hostess-in a select circle”. In contrast, Hedda wanted a horse: “And the saddle horse I was to have had”, which represents her desire for adventure. The stove in the living room has significance in the play. Hedda is associated with cold, but here with fire. The fire in the stove represents the burning desire Hedda seems to have for an adventurous life, her smoldering discontent with her current condition, her jealousy and rage. This intense passion rises to the surface every now and then. Hedda's games and intrigues stem from her desire to escape the confines of her stifled life. Throughout the play, she is in constant motion, moving from an upstage position to the stove, downstage right, from the stove to the table and from the table to the French windows. She feels trapped by her environment and the people in it, and longs to free herself from both. The “dark colours” and the uniform décor create a heavy and oppressive atmosphere, leaving little scope for personal and creative expression, mirrored by the “autumn colours” outside.

Hedda is from an aristocratic background; her father was a general. He spoiled her during her childhood. She had a different upbringing than other little girls at that time. Her dad would let her ride a horse with him as Aunt Julia stated in the...
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