Hedda Gabler

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Hedda Is Not a Housewife
The reflection of women in literature during the late eighteen-hundreds often features a submissive and less complex character than the usual male counterpart, however Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler features a women who confines herself to the conformities that women were to endure during that time period but separates herself from other female characters by using her intelligence and overall deviousness to manipulate the men in her life and take a dominant presence throughout the play. Hedda challenges the normal female identity of the time period by leaving the stereotype of the “quiet, subservient housewife” through her snide and condescending remarks as well as her overall spoiled aristocratic demeanor. Henrik Ibsen put a twist on the standard portrayal of women by making Hedda more intelligent than the majority of the other characters, which allows her to manipulate people in whichever way she desires. Hedda also features a dark side, which is that she must always be in control of whatever situation she is in. Hedda has a complex urge to dominate and undermine all others around her in order for her to achieve some sort of self-gratification. The entitlement, dominance, and complexity of Hedda Gabler reveal an unfamiliar female character that pushes the male and female relationship in theater beyond the comfort zone of eighteen hundreds playwriting.

Eighteen hundred’s literature and playwriting often featured the docile housewife, there to serve her male counterpart as well as be for the most part a secondary character to the overall story. The female character usually is timid and comforting to the people in her home. The first turn that Ibsen takes on this role with his character Hedda Gabler is that Hedda is neither timid nor comforting; Hedda separates herself by being snide and condescending to the people around her. Women have their “place” in the home and in society during that time and Hedda crosses that line with...
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