A Norwegian Playwright Writing
The play, Hedda Gabler, was first performed in Munich, Germany, on January 31, 1891. It was also performed over the next few weeks in the some of the following European cities, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Christiania (Oslo). Its first performance in English happened in London, on April 20 1891.
It was translated by Edmund Gosse and William Archer. This translation has continued to be in use throughout the twentieth century. Many scholars believe the play was written during a time in Ibsen life described to be one of the happiest times of his life.
That was during his short relationship with Emilie Bardach. Ibsen met this young eighteen-year-old Viennese girl in the tiny Alpine town of Gossensass in September of 1889. In its printed account, Hedda Gabler received a lot of negative reviews even before production, more so than any other of Isben's plays. In its earliest performances, the reviews did not get much better. Many traditional, mostly males critics, condemned the Hedda Gabler as immoral.This was nothing new they had condemned many of Ibsen's earlier plays as well.
Hedda Gabler gained higher status and praise in the twentieth century. The play really gained its place in literary history after the Broadway production in 1902. Many important actresses interest was sparked and found in Hedda one of the most fascinating and challenging female roles in modern drama.The characters in the play are:Hedda Gabler Â -Â Hedda is the daughter of the famous General. She was raised in a very wealthy home environment. Unfortunately, she marries Jürgen Tesman , who does not make much money to allow Hedda to live in the life style she was accustom to.
Hedda's new married name is Hedda Tesman. Hedda was a very bright, impulsive, and somewhat dishonest woman. She was not afraid to manipulate the people around her.Jürgen Tesman Â -Â Tesman was raised by his Aunt Julle. Tesman is a kind, smart scholar. He tries very hard to please his young wife, Hedda, He does not recognize the fact that he was being manipulated by Hedda.
He comes across as immature for his age. Tesman was wanting a professorship in history. It appears that in the beginning of the play that his one competitor, Ejlert Lövborg, an alcoholic, will not stand in his way.Juliane Tesman Â -Â Also called Aunt Julle, is the aunt of Jürgen Tesman.
Tesman was raised by his Aunt Julle after parents died. She and Hedda do not get along. The difference in their background and financial staus is apparent. She wants Tesman and Hedda to have a baby. Aunt Julle takes care of the sick Aunt Rina, who is also one of Tesman's Aunts.Judge Brack Â -Â He is a friend of Tesman and Hedda.
Due to his connections around the city, he is often the first to let Tesman know about any leads that may help him with his quest for a professorship. He likes to interfere in other people's business.Ejlert LövborgÂ -Â Is very intelligent and is Tesman biggest challenger in obtaining a professorship. He was once a public outcast due to his drinking problem. He returns and has published a book and has another manuscript that seems to be promising as well. He received lot of help from Mrs.
Elvsted with writing both of his manuscripts. He was once in a close relationship with Hedda.Mrs. ElvstedÂ -Â Mrs. Elvsted is a timid but passionate woman. Ejlert Lövborg was hired by Mrs. Elvsted and her husband to tutor their children. She acts as Ejlert personal secretary and helping him in his research and writing. When Ejlert leaves to return to the city, Mrs. Elvsted becomes concerned that he will relapse to his alcoholism, so she goes to Tesman for help. Hedda and Mrs. Elvsted went to school together and Mrs Elvsted has vivid memories of being bullied and harassed by Hedda.BerteÂ -Â Berte is Hedda Tesman's servant. She was Juliane Tesman's servant. She tries very hard to please Hedda, but Hedda is very dissatisfied with her.Aunt RinaÂ -Â Aunt Rina never appears on stage and is only referred to a sick and close to death at the start of the play.
She helped Aunt Julle to raise Jürgen.The entire play takes place in the Tesman's living room and in a smaller room off to the side. Jürgen Tesman and Hedda Tesman are newlyweds. They had been on their honeymoon that lasted for six months and have just returned to the city.
Hedda is high maintenance and hard to please. It appears that Hedda is pregnant as the play goes on. As the play begins, Aunt Julle comes for a visit. Aunt Julle raised Tesman and still helps him financially. Hedda is rather discourteous to Aunt Julle.
Tesman asks her to be kinder, but she disregards him as well. Soon, Mrs. Elvsted arrives, telling Tesman that his old academic adversary, Ejlert Lövborg, is back in town. Lövborg is a recovering alcoholic. Hedda learns that Mrs.
Elvsted is there without her husband's permission and she is scared that Ejlert will start drinking again. As Mrs. Elvsted leaves, Judge Brack arrives. Judge Brack says rumor has it, that Ejlert is a success and may be in line for the professorship at the university. Of course Tesman is very disappointed, because that was the position he was hoping to get himself.
After the Judge leaves, Tesman tells Hedda that they must watch their spending and stick to a tighter budget.In Act 2, Barack returns and finds Hedda playing with her pistols. She does this when she is bored. The two of them decide to form an alliance.
Hedda tells Barack how uninterested she was on her honeymoon and that she really does not care about the house that Tesman is buying for her. When Tesman arrives he and Brack being to drink and discuss the stag party that Brack is having that night. Ejlert Lövborg comes inand is talking with Hedda.
Tesman and Brack are drinking and still discussing the party in the other room. When, Mrs. Elvsted comes in, Hedda stirs things up between Ejlert and Mrs. Elvsted. Before you know it Ejlert starts to drink and decides to join Tesman and Brack at the party. Mrs. Elvsted is distraught. This is exactly what she thought would happen if he returned. Ejlert tols Mrs. Elvsted that he would come back to make sure she got home.Act 3 begins with Mrs. Elvsted and Hedda still waiting for still waiting for Ejlert to return. Hedda tells Mrs. Elvsted to go sleep on her bed. Tesman arrives soon after that to tell her that he has Ejlert's manuscript. That Ejlert had gotten drunk at the party and dropped the manuscript while walking home. Tesman was planning to return the manuscript to Ejlert, but had to leave suddenly because his Aunt Rina was dying. Brack tells Hedda that Ejlert has been arrested. After Brack leaves, Ejlert arrives to tell Mrs. Elvsted that he has destroyed his manuscript.
She is devastated immediately leaves. Then, Ejlert tells Hedda that he has lost the manuscript and wants to kill himself. Hedda never tells him she has the manuscript. She gives him one of her pistols and basically send him on his way to kill himself. As to wish him well.
When he leaves she burns the manuscript.As Act 4 begins, the scene is in total darkness. One can tell that everyone is mourning a passing of someone and all characters are dressed in black. Aunt Julle arrives. We soon learn that Aunt Rina has died. Aunt Julle is very upset and feels like she is of no use now and must find someone else to care for.
Mrs. Elvsted comes in and announces that Ejlert is in the hospital. Brack also arrives and confirms that Ejlert was in the hospital, but has died from a self inflicted gunshot to the chest. Based on notes that Mrs.
Elvsted had kept, she and Tesman try to reconstruct his manuscript in honor of his death . Privately, Brack tells Hedda that the gunshot was an accident and she may be implicated since it was her gun. Hedda leaves the room. You hear her playing the piano for a little while and then she shoots herself.Here are some famous quotes from the play, "Then what in the heaven's name would you have me do with myself?" and "Those impulses come over me all of a sudden, and I cannot resist them."After William Shakespeare, Ibsen is the most widely produced dramatist in history. To this day, Hedda is one of the most talked about fictional women in all of drama.
Known as "the female Hamlet," she is also one of the most difficult roles for an actress to play.
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