Hedda Gabler is a text in which jealousy and envy drive a woman to manipulate and attempt to control everyone in her life. The protagonist, Hedda, shows her jealousy in her interactions with the other characters in the play, particularly with Eilert Loveborg and Thea Elvsted. Because Hedda is unable to get what she wants out of life because of her gender and during the time of the play, her age, she resorts to bringing everyone else down around her. Hedda lets her jealousy get the best of her and because of this she hurts many of the people around her as well as ultimately hurting herself.
When the play was written, Hedda, being a woman, did not have many rights and had to do what was expected of a woman during that time period. She was afraid of scandal and envied those who were not. Her envy and jealousy at those who were free to be in control of their own lives was the driving force behind Hedda’s manipulative behavior and attempts to destroy the lives of others. She did the horrible things that she did to make herself feel as though she had some power and some control. It was her way of trying to ease the jealousy she felt towards others. She ruined their lives, so she would have nothing to be jealous of. Hedda Gabler is a complex piece of literature in which Henrik Ibsen is able to portray a woman who, because she has suffered from the injustices of the time, let her emotions get carried away and because of this was driven to attempt to put some equality into her own life by any means possible.Throughout the text of Hedda Gabler there are many instances that show Hedda’s envious nature. By examining these passages, one will find that the appalling things that she does are driven from her desire to have power and be in control. They also show how injustice can sometimes cause people to be driven to do drastic things to gain some equality into their lives.
One of the first instances of Hedda’s jealousy in the play is when Mrs. Elvsted (Thea) is first introduced. This occurs on page 665. Here Thea shares that Hedda used to pull Thea’s hair when they were in school and that Hedda threatened to burn it off. Hedda dismisses this accusation although she is fully aware that she had done this when the two were young. This example shows that from a young age Hedda let her jealousy get the best of her. She pulled and threatened to burn Thea’s hair because she was jealous of it. In Hedda’s mind, if she could not have pretty hair, then Thea should not have it either. She did what she did to Thea to make herself feel better about the situation and to make Thea scared of her, therefore giving her a feeling of being in control.
Another instance of Hedda’s jealousy occurs on page 685. In this part, Hedda, Thea, and Eilert are all at Hedda’s house together. While they are here, Hedda makes sure to sit in between Thea and Eilert even though she is completely aware that the two are an item. She does this because Eilert is the only man she ever loved and she is jealous that he is now with Thea. Hedda says, “No you don’t, little Thea, not there. Come right over here next to me. I want to be in the middle between you.,” which again shows that she likes to have control over what happens around her. Hedda tells everyone where to sit in an attempt to have some form of power in her life.
Throughout the whole play, the reader can see that Hedda is jealous of Thea’s courage. Thea had the strength to leave her husband, and essentially everything she owned behind. Though this caused a scandal for her, Thea was unafraid and chose to leave and be with Eilert anyway. Hedda knows that she could never do this although she wishes that she could. She does not love her husband, George, and does not want to have his child. However as Judge Brack informs the reader, Hedda is afraid of scandal. She is afraid of what would be said about her and how people would view her if she were to do something like Thea had...