Symbolism in Hedda Gabler

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The mid-nineteenth century realist playwright Alexandre Dumas wrote the following about his drama. "If…I can exercise some influence over society; if, instead of treating effects I can treat causes; if, for example, while I satirize and describe and dramatize adultery, I can find means to force people to discuss the problem, and the law-maker to revise the law, I shall have done more than my part as a poet, I shall have done my duty as a man….We need invent nothing; we have only to observe, remember, feel, coordinate, restore….As for basis, the real; as for facts, what is possible; for means, what is ingenious; that is all that can rightfully be asked of us." Along with the realist dramatists of his time, Dumas wrote his plays with a noble mission: to ignite social change and to raise social awareness of a problem or issue through realistic dramatization of his environment. Like Dumas, Henrik Ibsen concerned himself with problems of human behavior and morality in society. And like his predecessors, Ibsen used naturalistic writing to exhibit human beings as they really are and as they really behave in the culture of his time. But the reasons why Ibsen was more effective and successful at Dumas' objective that was Dumas himself was because he abandoned happy and acceptable resolutions to his plays, confronted human behavior with honesty and acute observation, often raising disturbing and embarrassing questions, and left out the didactic solutions to the problems in question in favor of offering no solution, leaving his questions open to thought and interpretation. Ibsen saw his wild success as a playwright well before he died, and it was in great part due to his rejection of realist proponents like the emphasis of mainly external detail and his uproar-causing and shocking resolutions to his plays. But in addition and I think more importantly, Ibsen's triumph was because of his reach ahead of his time and his inclusion of symbolist elements in his drama. While at...
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