IB Diploma - Literature HL
In what way does Henrik Ibsen’s use of irony in Hedda Gabler contribute to the play’s examination of 19th century Norwegian social ideology?
Name – Daniel Bloch
School Number – 001926
Candidate Number – 001926-002
Session – November, 2014
Word Count – 1365
Reflective Statement: Word Count - 379
I only had superficial knowledge about Henrik Ibsen and the society in which he lived prior to the Interactive Oral, however, by the end I obtained a far greater understanding of the man, his culture, and how his experiences influenced his writing, particularly Hedda Gabler.
After finding out that Ibsen’s family went through bankruptcy and a long-standing feud, it revealed to me why he wrote so many of his plays, including Hedda Gabler about financial hardships and social class issues. From a childhood where he was brought up witnessing such family drama, it is of little surprise to me that his texts are realistic, incorporating objects as motifs and dialogue reflecting the social conventions of the time. In Hedda Gabler’s case, there was the pistol collection, the piano and Eljert Lovborg’s manuscript. All of these stage properties become motifs that Ibsen uses to represent a 19th Century Norwegian household. Furthermore, he used these objects to explore the inner states and psyches of those within the bourgeois. An example of this being the portrait of General Gabler, which Hedda keeps in the back room. This is a key motif that represents the fall of the upper-middle to higher class as it foreshadows Hedda’s inadequacy in living up to her families past.
During the Interactive Oral I became aware of the fact that Ibsen wrote and or directed as many as 146 plays, most of which were recognized as ‘scandalous’, and Hedda Gabler is no exception. Hedda’s character particularly romanticizes scandalous behaviour, which opposed social and cultural conventions for women at
Bibliography: Ibsen, H. & Fermor, U. M. (1961). Hedda Gabler and Other Plays. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Eng.: Penguin Books.