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Bonnie Hall Carroll AP Literature 2 November 2011 Cruel Search for Justice In Henrik Ibsen¶s Hedda Gabler, Hedda

is left with nothing but old pistols after the passing of her father. As a result, she must marry George Tesman, the only man who proposes to her, and live below her class and below her standards. Hedda feels that her life is full of injustice, and these feelings drive her to do cruel, heartless deeds that influence not only her life, but all of those around her. Because Hedda feels trapped in her marriage to George Tesman, she refuses to consider herself as part of the Tesman family and seeks retribution for her injustice by nonchalantly hurting George and Aunt Julia. For example, Hedda purposefully insults Aunt Julia when she lays her brand new bonnet on a chair and Hedda ³pretend[s] to think it [is] the servant¶s´ (Ibsen 30). Aunt Julia purchased that bonnet specifically to impress Hedda; however, Hedda maliciously bruises Aunt Julia¶s pride out of spite because she is annoyed that she is now Mrs. Tesman, a status she considers beneath her due to her upbringing. Hedda also hurts the Tesman family by influencing George to spend well beyond his means in order to keep her happy. Hedda takes advantage of Tesman¶s affection for her as he claims that he ³couldn¶t possibly ask her to put up with a shabby style of living!´ (Ibsen 20). Hedda remains indifferent to her husband¶s declining financial circumstances and does not display any evidence suggesting she cares that he has ³run deep into debt; and borrowed money from Aunt Julia too´ (Ibsen 22). Hedda feels that

Just as she does with Thea. Lovborg gets out of control. Knowing Lovborg¶s inability to control himself when he drinks. Just as she anticipates. Thea¶s influence over Eilert Lovborg greatly bothers Hedda because she was once the object of Lovborg¶s affection.´ and despite the fact that she is in possession of the missing . Hedda sets him up to make a fool of himself. Hedda does everything in her power to end Thea¶s happiness including destroying the manuscript that Thea and Lovborg had written together: an act that Hedda considers ³burning [their] child´ (Ibsen 59). and she does everything in her power to ruin the happiness of those around her such as Thea. Despite Thea¶s statement that a ³woman¶s shadow stands between´ her and Eilert Lovborg and Hedda¶s knowledge that she is in fact the woman Thea speaks of. Hedda experiences an intense jealousy of Thea¶s power to influence Lovborg (Ibsen 18). Therefore. As a result of this jealousy. therefore she does whatever suits her fancy whether it hurts her new family or not. Since she herself cannot be happy in her own life. She plays to his ego by claiming that ³people might be apt to suspect that ± in [his] heart of hearts ± [he does] not feel quite secure ± quite confident in [himself]´ if he does not engage in social drinking (Ibsen 42).being a part of the Tesman family is a great injustice in her life. Hedda attempts to destroy Thea and Lovborg¶s relationship. Lovborg comes to Hedda in despair and proclaims that he has ³lost the child²utterly lost it. She does so by revealing Thea¶s limited faith in Lovborg¶s ability to stay sober and control himself when she speaks of Thea¶s ³mortal terror´ and ³state of distraction´ in front of Lovborg. Hedda tries to sabotage Eilert Lovborg¶s happiness and uses him to satisfy her feelings of injustice in her life. has a scandalous night. Once again Hedda feels that her situation is an injustice as Thea is now Lovborg¶s inspiration and comrade just as she used to be. and loses his extremely important manuscript. Hedda does not want anyone around her to be happy either.

Hedda¶s feelings of injustice in her life were not the result of a demented or evil personality but rather the product of society¶s role in teaching women what is important and of what they are capable. Hedda ultimately kills herself because of her failed attempts to rectify the injustice she experiences. and [she] cannot resist them´ (Ibsen 30). .manuscript. she takes pleasure in being able to influence the lives of those around her. As a result of this upbringing. Hedda Gabler was brought up to fall just like many other women of her time. Hedda demonstrates that she has gained power over him. By not telling Lovborg that she has the manuscript. and she takes her own life as a result of this devastating circumstance. In the end. she had been taught that material luxuries were necessities and to avoid scandal at all costs. destroys his manuscript. Because Hedda feels she has no control over the injustice in her life. All of her life. By the conclusion of the play. Therefore. instead she stands by her assertion that she ³know[s] of no reason why [she] should be²happy´ (Ibsen 30). Hedda¶s attempts to gain control over her life and rectify her injustices lands her in the direct power of Judge Brack. and encourages him to take his own life and ³to do it beautifully´ (Ibsen 59). and even she realizes that ³everything [she touches turns] ludicrous and mean´ (Ibsen 68). She spends her time making other people miserable claiming that ³impulses come over [her] all of a sudden. all of her attempts to sabotage the lives of those around her in order to correct the injustices in her life only backfire. Therefore. she allows Lovborg to continue in his misery. Hedda knew of no other power than to manipulate the lives of those around her in order to make the injustices of her life right again. Hedda does not inform Lovborg (Ibsen 58-59). She never attempts to make the best of her situation or enjoy her life.

H e d d a G a b l e r .Works Cited I b s e n . H e nr i k . N Y : D o v e r P u b l i c a t io ns . I n c . . 1990. . M i n e o l a .