Sympathy For Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen is a play about the title character marrying a middle class man who she finds dull and uninteresting. In an attempt to make her life more interesting, she begins to wreak havoc in the lives of others. Due to this, many people argue that Hedda is a character to hold contempt for. However, this isn 't the case. Hedda is a character to have sympathy for because due to the expectations of society, she has to give up her freedom and live a life that she doesn 't want.

The first reason why Hedda is a character worthy of sympathy is because she’s forced to give up her freedom due to society’s view of women. An ideal Victorian woman was expected to love and obey her husband, take care of her children and to remain
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This is portrayed through Thea Elvsted, who is the typical Victorian woman and the foil of Hedda. While Thea is described as "A woman of fragile figure, with pretty, soft features. Her eyes are light blue...with a startled, inquiring expression. Her hair is remarkably light...and unusually abundant and wavy" (Act I, Pages 11-12). Thea 's appearance is very feminine and evokes a feeling of comfort. This contrasts with Hedda 's description which says: "Her face and figure show refinement and distinction...Her steel-grey eyes express a cold, unruffled repose. Her hair is an agreeable medium brown, but not particularly abundant" (Act I, Page 7). Hedda 's appearance is somewhat masculine compared to Thea 's, and raises a feeling of intimidation. Both of these impressions are proved correct when we find out that Thea was the one who was able to get Lovborg, who was an alcoholic, to turn his life back around and focus on his intellectual life, while Hedda manipulated him to break his sobriety and go back to his drunken ways. Hedda is a dominant woman, who needs everything to be exactly how she desires. This personality was most likely shaped from her father who was a military general. Meanwhile Thea was most likely raised by regular middle class parents, who taught her to be the ideal Victorian woman. Hedda can 't …show more content…
Although these are admittedly very despicable acts, it seems Hedda has had no strong, positive influence in her life prior to marrying Tesman. She was the daughter of General Gabler, so war and destruction has always played a role in her life. Her mother was never mentioned in the play so it can be presumed that she didn’t hold as much influence as General Gabler did. Also, these acts were caused by Hedda wanting control of Lovborg’s destiny due to her lack of freedom. When talking to him about how Thea 's lack of confidence in him starting a new life has broken him, Hedda says: "So that pretty little fool has had her fingers in a man 's destiny" (Act III, Page 58). Due to her military background, Hedda is an extremely dominant woman. The fact that Thea also had the power to change someone 's destiny angers her, especially since they have conflicting ideas as to what should become of Lovborg. This is most likely another contributing factor as to why she committed these acts: She felt the need to protect her dominance before she lost it along with her

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