Hi, need to submit a 500 words essay on the topic Hedda Gabler, examine her character. How does she arouse both sympathy and scorn Using support from the play, explain and justify Shaw’s observation about Hedda’s character and the difficulty in playing it.
She tries to evade Tesman. even she does not hesitate to allow her ex-lover Ejlert Løvborg to commit suicide. She rather provokes him by giving him a pistol. It is not that she unsympathetically or villainously commits this crime of provoking Lovborg’s suicide. rather she does so to assert her being in her ability to possess and manipulate her romantic hero whom she once dumped because of his recklessly free nature. It is true that she is unsympathetic towards Lovborg and others, including Tesman and Aunt Julle, who represent the social restrictions. Though she cannot but be unsympathetic to them, she herself bears secret sympathy for them, as George Bernard Shaw, in a letter to Elizabeth Robbins, says, “You were sympathetically unsympathetic, which was the exact solution of the central difficulty of playing Hedda.” ()
Hedda, a fancy-flyer entrapped by the social expectations of wifehood, is continually torn apart by her sense of the standards of appearance and her love for freedom. Her “aimless desire for freedom” makes her reproachful towards those who may meddle in her desire. In the very beginning of the play, Hedda is found to take savage delight in manipulating people to achieve her end. She instinctively hates Tessman’s relatives and family. This is because her expectation of an aristocrat life is not fulfilled and also the boundary of Tessman’s household does not allow her to enjoy the freedom. Hedda has an extremely freedom loving mind. In the beginning, she hates pregnancy, motherhood “make a claim on her freedom” (Ibsen 45). She does not like to be a mother, because it would bind her more with the duties and responsibilities.
Like any typical woman of Ibsen’s plays, she is a fancy-flyer who has been stuck into harsh reality. Her high background shows that she has been pampered in her father’s house. Being devoid of any knowledge reality, she tries to dominate matters,