It has been suggested that Hedda Gabler is a drama about the individual psyche -- a mere character study. It has even been written that Hedda Gabler "presents no social theme" (Shipley 333). On the contrary, I have found social issues and themes abundant in this work.
The character of Hedda Gabler centers around society and social issues. Her high social rank is indicated from the beginning, as Miss Tesman says of Hedda, "General Gabler's daughter. What a life she had in the general's day!" (Ibsen 672). Upon Hedda's first appearance, she makes many snobbish remarks. First, she turns up her nose at George's special handmade slippers. Later she insults Aunt Julie's new hat, pretending to mistake it for the maid's. Hedda seems to abhor everything about George Tesman and his bourgeoisie existence. She demands much more class than he has been able to provide her, for she was the beautiful, charming daughter of General Gabler and deserved nothing but the finest.
As the character of Hedda Gabler develops, the reader learns that she has only married George Tesman because her father's passing away left her no significant financial resources, nothing but a respectable heritage. She tells Brack of her decision to marry Tesman: "I really had danced myself out, Judge. My time was up. ... And George Tesman -- he is after all a thoroughly acceptable choice. ... There's every chance that in time he could still make a name for himself. ...It was certainly more than my other admirers were willing to do for me, Judge." (Ibsen 684).
Hedda needed someone to support her financially, and George Tesman was the only decent man to propose to her. She was forced to cross beneath her social class and marry this commoner in the hopes that he would make a name for himself as a professor. As for love everlasting, Hedda disgustedly comments to Judge Brack, "Ugh -- don't use that syrupy word!" Rather than having become a happy newlywed who has found true... [continues]
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