What is the significance of the suicide in Henrick Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler?

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In order to understand why suicide is significant in Hedda Gabler, you should explore two important themes in the play: death and power. After all, suicide is the ultimate way to reclaim one's power—that is, if one considers that life is a prison of sorts. The theme of suicide also gives us insight into Hedda's character and her search for meaningful connections.

Is Hedda Gabler a prisoner of her own life? In the first act, she is first introduced as "General Gabler's daughter." This sets the tone of the whole play: Hedda Gabler's identity is closely tied to her aristocratic heritage, a heritage that she has to prove herself worthy of. The stage directions indicate that "over the sofa hangs the portrait of a handsome elderly man in a General's uniform." Throughout the play, General Gabler will be observing his daughter's actions. Although dead, his presence is heavily felt and influences Hedda.

Hedda Gabler is obsessed with appearances, which is a central theme in the play. Despite...

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