How Are Oppression and Repression Represented in Hedda Gabler?

Topics: Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen, Audience Pages: 3 (945 words) Published: November 4, 2011
How are oppression and repression represented in Hedda Gabler?

The play Hedda Gabler represents both repression and oppression, symbolised through objects and people. Hedda lives an affluent and elegant lifestyle, the room being described as one with “handsomely and tastefully chosen furnishings”. The description of the furnishings and decor in the first paragraph represents the conflict and oppression Hedda feels between the middle class and aiming to be upper class. This can also be found by the clothes she wears, conforming to fashion and mimicking her view of how an upper class woman should manifest herself. “Oh it was a little episode with Miss Tesman this morning. She had laid down her bonnet on the chair there –looks at him and smiles- and I pretended to think it was a servant’s”. The fact that Hedda used this to her own enjoyment suggests a sense of immaturity. The colour scheming and accentuation on dark colours puts emphasis on the oppressive nature of the room, and the lack of imaginative scope that is mirrored in Hedda’s confined mind “an opal glass shade”, “a wide stove of dark porcelain”. Ibsen creates a controlled setting in which we are described, the conforming room, the expensive furnishings and décor, interprets to both the reader or audience the idea that Hedda is a prisoner, perhaps a prisoner in her own mind. An interesting point from this idea is the fact that Hedda’s “mistreatment” would have been used as the norm for a woman of her day. She seems to have everything she could ever wish for “…But you saw what pile of boxes Hedda had to bring with her”, and Hedda’s view of restriction that Ibsen creates, as well as the feelings of oppression seems almost selfish to the reader, and so to her rebellion of this heightens her ensnared situation. In the preliminary paragraph used to set the scene at the opening of the play, Ibsen depicts the room to have “glass doors with the curtains drawn back”. “The sun shines in through the glass door”...
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