Why does Hedda play "a frenzied dance melody" on the piano before committing suicide?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

 Hedda's frenzied act of  playing the piano is an outward manifestation of her inner frustration and fury, which culminates in her own 'beautiful death'. Even as early as act one, when Tesman leaves the room, Hedda goes to the window and whirls about 'in a frenzy', which symbolises her claustrophobia and despair at the knowledge she is pregnant. The title of the play, 'Hedda Gabler' is very telliing. Throughout the action, Hedda tries to sustain her role as General Gabler's daughter, rather than Tesman's wife. However, she is only prepared to play this role within the confines of her drawing room. She married Tesman because she had 'danced herself tired' She loves Eiljert but rather than leave Tesman, she prefers  Lovborg to die beautifully 'with vine leaves in his hair'. When Brack reveals the sordid reality of Lovborg's death, Hedda's is distraught and can only express her grief through the wild melody she plays on the piano. This is her last act of rebellion, an expression of individuality and an ironic victory over the social forces which dictate she should  behave as a late nineteenth century woman, passive, demure and docile.  

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial