“Hedda Gabler:” Dealing with Men and Doing So “Beautifully”
Henrik Ibsen’s play, “Hedda Gabler,” is an interesting story of a peculiar woman’s boredom with life. Hedda Gabler’s boredom and need for enjoyment causes her to manipulate the lives of those around her. Men love her; women envy her. This popularity makes Hedda an all-powerful character throughout the play. Undoubtedly, Hedda enjoys her power over others and is reasonably distraught when Judge Brack reveals that he knows Hedda gave Eilert Loevborg the pistol that killed him. At this point, Hedda has a difficult decision to make; either become Brack’s sex slave, or immerse herself in scandal: one of her biggest fears. Regardless of her decision, Brack’s knowledge of the pistol’s true owner would destroy her. Each of her manipulative relationships would backfire on her. Of course, Hedda always gets what she wants and never relinquishes power. She creates her own choice: death. Hedda inevitable shoots herself at the end of “Hedda Gabler” because she realizes that she has lost all power and control when Brack blackmails her into being subservient to him. Rather than living powerless among people she has no respect for, she chooses to die and does so “beautifully.”
Besides Hedda herself, Brack was the main benefactor to Hedda’s “beautiful” death. Had he not blackmailed her, Hedda may not have committed suicide. Brack proves to be just as manipulative as Hedda when he becomes one of Tesman’s entrusted by feeding Tesman information about his professorship and attempts to have an affair with Hedda. Hedda rejects his advances because of the scandal that an affair would cause. When Eilert dies and the opportunity arises to blackmail Hedda, Brack pounces to get what he wants from her:
BRACK. But you’ll have to answer one question. Why did you give Eilert
Loevborg this pistol? And what conclusions will people draw when it is
proved you did give it to him?
HEDDA. [Bows her head.]...
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