Why does Judge Brack never marry in Hedda Gabler?

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Judge Brack explains his reasons for not marrying in his extended Act Second conversation with Hedda. The question of why she married George comes up, “My accepting George Tesman, you mean?” and the topic leads to Brack reiterating to Hedda his own views on marriage. In a subtle dialogue, Brack suggests that while he has a “certain respect for the marriage ties,” his ambition is to be “free to come and go” at will and according to his own desires.

Two things emerge from this. The first is that it is clear that within a marriage, neither partner can “come and go” at will and exclusively to his or her own desires, so Brack would be disinterested in marriage. The second is that Barack’s preference is a place “as a trusted friend” within the family circle of a “pleasant” family to whom he may be “useful in every way.” He puts a priority on such a friendship with the...

(The entire section contains 487 words.)

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