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Can Ibsen's Hedda Gabler Be Considered A Tragedy?

Uploaded by Panda05 on Dec 22, 2004

[i:3deced8eb6]Can Ibsen's Hedda Gabler Be Considered A Tragedy?[/i:3deced8eb6]
Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler is a definitive look at social conditions involving women at the turn of the Century. His title character is a complex individual who is driven to destruction by her great desires. Hedda epitomizes women of that time period by their dependency on social convention, and she is motivated to do so many things but unfortunately is without the courage to act upon them. There are many elements used by Ibsen to depict a tragic hero, and therefore a tragic play. For example, the reader sees a specific worldview, a main character of noble birth, and both concepts of the hamartia and peripetia which are vital to the tragic plot. This raises the question of whether this work can be considered a tragedy. Critics have continuously debated this issue, even since it was written in 1890. Many thought the character of Hedda to be too unrealistic, thus the play melodramatic rather than tragic. However, through the elements mentioned above and by using literary techniques such as symbolism and irony, Ibsen succeeds in creating this timeless tragedy.

Firstly, Ibsen creates a specific worldview to his audience, and he does this by suggesting a mirror dependency between genders. The male characters in this play are dependant on women, and the women are dependant on social conventions. Jorgen Tesman, Hedda's vacant minded husband is dependant on his Aunt Juliane whereas Hedda is constantly restrained by her reliance on her 'what would other think/say' mentality. The female characters of this play are dependent on the fact that others depend on them, and Rina is a striking symbol of this very fact. She symbolizes the vulnerability of everyman being the invalid that she is thus projecting Ibsen's idea that everybody is dependant in some way. This viewpoint is extremely accurate in describing women's roles in European society in both the 1800's and present day. Men are generally viewed as the bread winners, who come home after a hard day at work expecting to be taken care of by their wives. Women on the other hand, are expected to be seen and not heard, keeping both the house and family name in tact.

Secondly, the author has created a character of noble birth, another important characteristic of a tragic...

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Uploaded by:   Panda05

Date:   12/22/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,035 words)

Views:   15238

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