The Study Of Women in Hedda Gabler
During the time where Hedda Gabler was written, which was in the 19th century, women did not have the same equal rights as men. Women were not able to work, pursue an education, or anything that a man could do. The women during this time period were known to just be a housewife and mother. Women had to be fully dependent on the men in the household which mean they had no independence at all. Some women were at peace with depending on their men and others wanted their own independence, but different viewpoints from females were shown in this play about them being secondary to the males. Emptiness and unhappiness are the only two things in this play that the women have in common. The women in this play all seek to resolve one basic problem which is what to do with their lives.
Thea Elvsted was shown to be an easily controlled woman, but as the play kept going it was shown that she was fierce behind her own aspirations. In this play, Thea told Hedda how unhappy she was with her marriage and that she was leaving her husband. “I just can’t stand being with him. We don’t have a single thing in common” (Ibsen, 866). Thea was really leaving her husband because she found happiness in Loyborg, so she felt like that’s who she needed to be with. This shows that she will do anything to fulfill her own needs in life and make sure she is happy. This also shows despite her shyness she was truly a bold woman that would do anything for her own happiness no matter what no one else thought or had to say. After Lovborg died, Mrs. Elvsted was back on the search for love and happiness in the best way possible.
Juliane Tesman life was full of boredom, but she was a very caring person. Juliane was George Tesman’s aunt and after George’s parents died she continued to raise him. Aunt Julie used her caring for others to fill the void of being lonely in her life. Caring for people and making sure everyone around her was doing good seemed like the only thing Aunt Julie was living for. She would do anything for George even in the play she mentioned she would do anything for her dearest boy. She loved George as if he was truly her own son. Julianne Always put everyone needs and desires before her own. She was truly a good person at heart. The other women in the play thought more of themselves and what they felt was good for them but not Aunt Julie. She distracted herself from thinking about all the opportunities life could have had for her by always trying to care for someone or help someone consistently showed that she puts other people’s needs above her own. This is why she did not have time to think about things such as her own independence like the other women in the play done. She knew that tending to others was a great distraction for herself, and it also helped to keep her mind off all the possibilities of life that freedom could bring. Even after everything that happened, Julie just resumed to live her life caring for others and continued putting herself below everyone else.
Hedda Tesman, is George’s newly wedded wife, that is very unhappy with herself period. Hedda only married George thinking she would get some type of happiness in life, but it did not work out for her as planned. Hedda was more of a woman who cared about her freedom, but she knew her limitations as being a woman. She wanted to live this fantasy lifestyle that was full of fairy tales, but George really was fine with how he was living. Hedda wanted to be free so bad, but she just did not take the extra steps to accommodate her dreams. She knew she wanted to do something because was very bored and unhappy in her life and marriage. She tells Judge Brack that “I often think I have one talent in the world…boring the life right out of me” (Ibsen, 878). Tesman was a good husband and did everything he thought he could to please his wife, but nothing seemed to work. She was a desperate, manipulative woman. She only seemed happy with making others feel down. It seems that she wanted people to bow down and do things exactly how she wanted to do them. Hedda wanted more than just freedom because of the simple fact that she felt so happy manipulating other people. She wanted to be the ruler over everyone’s life. For one, it seemed that she wanted to be the president or ruler. She would not accept the fact she was pregnant, she hated the fact she was married, and she hated working. Hedda father could have had a lot to do with why she wanted so much freedom as a female because she was not taught like most females. Hedda was not a typical girl growing up playing with baby dolls and such but more of a shooting gun type of girl. Hedda was mean toward men and women. She saw no gender when it came to manipulating others for her own joy and pleasure. She tried to drive Loyborg crazy and make him kill himself, she used Mrs. Elvested sorrows against her, and she made both George and his aunt feel like they were not good enough to be in her presence or the same place as her. All them but one person she could not manipulate at all was Judge Brack because he had something he could use against her. He knew that Hedda played a part in Lovborg’s death. Hedda showed that she would rather kill herself than let someone have anything over her head. So she basically could not take in what she dished out to other people.
Hedda Gabler definitely showed how many women in the 19th century was trying to fill so many voids in their life. This play showed how unhappy women really were with their lives and still did much of nothing to make a difference. The different women in their life chose to live in the way they thought was good enough for them to get by regardless of the barriers they faced. Mrs. Elvested has done something many women were afraid to do during this period of time which was pursued her own happiness and desire despite what anyone else had to say. Juliane Tesman’s found joy in her life by doing what most women did not and still do not do and that’s showing care for other people, and putting other people needs above hers. Hedda’s desire for freedom and to be in a marriage showed how manipulative of a person she really was. Her life showed how a person that is unhappy really can be. This play showed how many women do not accept their place in society the way it is, but still chooses to live life in the best way they feel is possible.
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