What is the importance of the home in Hedda Gabler?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What is so fascinating about this play is the extreme restriction of the staging. You may have noticed when studying this play that all of the action occurs in the drawing room of the Tesmans' house. This is linked of course to one of the principle themes of the play, which is the societal restrictions which restrict and alsmost imprison Hedda in her world of Victorian values. Just as Hedda seems almost trapped in the drawing room, so Ibsen indicates the way in which the entire play concerns how characters can be stifled and choked by society and expectations and are unable to live their lives as they would like as a result. The atmosphere becomes very claustraphobic as a result.

The significance of the house continues when we think about what it represents to both George and Hedda. George refers to it as the perfect residence for them both, all they could have ever wanted, but in reality we discover that Hedda never actually desired it at all. The home therefore becomes a powerful symbol of their marriage, which is based on massive misconceptions and an inability to communicate. Hedda tells Brack why she married Tesman. She had married him thinking he would go on to be famous in life and rich, but both of these hopes were in vain. Just as the house and Tesman's and Hedda's feelings about it are based on a misunderstanding, so their marriage is based on a misunderstanding.


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