Is Hedda Gabler a work of realism or naturalism, and why? 

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There is a sliding scale with regard to the use of the terms "naturalism" and "realism." Most critics and commentators would probably regard naturalism as a kind of subset of realism. More often than not, the first term is applied to literature that not only portrays life "realistically," but shows the darker, more sordid side of the world. Typical examples would be fiction such as Emile Zola's La Bête humaine and Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Naturalistic fiction and drama of the late nineteenth century tend to focus on working-class people and to deal with relatively explicit sexual situations and violence, including rape and murder.

Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, like most of his work, is an example of realism because its situations, characters and dialogue are "true to life." Ibsen deals with ordinary middle- or upper-middle-class people, and they speak in language that is not inflated or poetic. The action of his plays doesn't violate the audience's conception of what is...

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