Hedda Gabler, a play by Henrik Ibsen, could be considered "realistic" in two different major ways. First, the play is considered a realism, which is a style of theater. Many people believe Henrik Ibsen perfected the style of realism, although this is debated. However, his plays are considered realisms because there are four aspects in his plays that exist:
- They make problems in society the subject of debate.
- They have a socio-critical perspective.
- The action is in a contemporary setting.
- They present everyday people and situations. (From the Library of Norway)
Hedda Gabler is concerned with problems within society, and the characters in the play are frequently concerned about their role within society. While it is character-based, the play is also interested in systemic problems. This is a classic definition of dramatic realism.
Secondly, the play is acted in the style of realism, meaning the actors are concerned about being perceived as "realistic." The acting style of realism is not always the same as the form of realism. This is sometimes hard to understand, as most contemporary acting styles are based in realism (think of movies). However, there are many different acting styles in the history of theater.
Hedda Gabler and Hamlet are often compared to each other, as Hamlet is considered to be the hardest male role to play and Hedda Gabler is considered to be the hardest female role to play. However, the plays' styles are radically different. Hedda Gabler is a realism play, while Hamlet is created in a classical Elizabethan style. Today, Hamlet is often performed in the style of realism, but it is not a realism play.