Hedda Gabler Essay

1847 Words Aug 27th, 2014 8 Pages
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
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The repetitive use of double-entendre is linked to the main characters personality flaws, highlighting their duplicitous nature. Verbal irony is also found in the plays frequent use of sexual innuendo. The larger than life character of Judge Brack is the greatest propagator of this feature, highlighted by his preference for entering the Tesman estate through the back door, suggesting to Hedda that rear entries “can be quite attractive at times.”2 This ironic statement, amongst other crude suggestions from Brack presents the sexual tension between the once acquainted pair whilst indicating Brack’s power as a successful man in 19th century Norway. Both examples of verbal irony allow Ibsen to provide the audience an opportunity to comprehend the duplicitous nature of Norwegian citizens in 19th century.

In addition, dramatic irony is employed to position the audience to be critical of the 19th century Norwegian middle class life, by revealing the despondency of individuals in the play. Ibsen leaks crucial secrets to the audience, foreshadowing tragic events that will unfold for the blissfully unaware victims. An example of this arises, as the defiant yet vulnerable Thea Elvsted describes to Hedda how there is “a woman standing between Ejlert Lovborg and me.”3 The dramatic irony is manifested through the audiences prior knowledge of Hedda being this “woman”, so when Elvsted recounts how “he said that when they parted she

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