One’s own Freedom is what one desires to control the most in life. Yet in both Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Hedda and Meursault do not have this influence over themselves, because external factors force them to live their lives according to the society they live in. In both Hedda Gabler and The Stranger the main character are constantly reminded of the life they do not want through ordinary objects that typically represent life. By destroying them, Hedda and Meursault are trying to gain control of their lives and freedom. Eventually, the character realises that the only way they can truly gain this freedom is by the death of themselves rather than things around them. In Hedda Gabler, Hedda becomes
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Being married for Hedda is like being under house arrest. The only taste of independence Hedda now has is through the veranda doors in the drawing room. Throughout the play, Hedda stands by the glass doors looking out; ogling at the life it represents- a life she longs for. For example, when Tesman reveals “how delighted Aunt Julia seemed to be- because you had come home looking so flourishing!” (Ibsen 41), Hedda is forced to think about her expected pregnancy after her honeymoon. Her immediate reaction is to stand by the glass doors and look outside; at a life without husbands, babies or anything that is dominating her. Nevertheless, these glass doors are not always ideal for Hedda because they leave her longing for something she will never obtain. In order to make the outdoors less appealing she compromises with herself that “[the leaves] are so yellow - so withered….Yes to think of it! Already in September” (Ibsen 21), convincing herself that the trees are only symbolising what she is destined for– ‘withered’ from growing old and bored. Therefore, by shutting the curtains or even shooting at this ‘freedom’ with her revolvers, Ibsen creates symbolic deaths to make the outdoors look less attractive then Hedda’s life indoors.
The only way Hedda can forget about her pregnancy is again through a symbolic death. Having a child would be disastrous; stripping Hedda of the little control she has left. Therefore her hatred is displaced onto the