Homework Help

What is the plot of Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler?

user profile pic

kimsteinberg | Salutatorian

Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:49 AM via web

dislike 0 like

What is the plot of Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:22 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Hedda Gabler is an 1890 play by Henrik Ibsen that touches on themes of feminism, personal honor, and fidelity in marriage.

The honeymooning Jørgen and Hedda Tesman return to their home, where a rival academic -- Løvborg -- has started to become prominent. Hedda, who did not marry for love, becomes obsessed with taking Løvborg down to promote her husband, who is in line for a university job. Løvborg, as it turns out, is not vying for the job, but instead is living with an old classmate of Hedda's -- Mrs. Elvsted -- who is acting as his muse and keeping him sober; they are working on a manuscript which will being him fame. Jealous, Hedda gets Løvborg drunk, causing him to lose his manuscript and become suicidal; Hedda gives him a pistol. He kills himself in a humiliating fashion and the investigating Judge reveals to Hedda that he knows of her part in his death; he is interested in her sexually as well, and she knows he will use his knowledge to blackmail her. Hedda's husband joins with Mrs. Elvsted to try and recreate Løvborg's manuscript; Hedda, in despair, commits suicide.

The overarching themes of the play are jealousy and power; Hedda has power over various people throughout, and finally comes to an end when someone else gets power over her. Her strong will and refusal to compromise are indications of her dissatisfaction with her marriage, and her actions accidentally drive her husband away.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes