In Hedda Gabler, Hedda commits rebellious acts of her own that shock both the viewer and society at the time. Hedda is fond of guns and uses them often. Like her guns, Hedda’s acts are unacceptable. ” (raises the pistol and aims) And now, Judge, I’m going to shoot you!… (she fires)” (Hedda Gabler, 249). Hedda “plays” with her guns as Judge Brack enters the household through the garden. Dissimilar from other women, instead of welcoming the guests with some “tea and a hug”, Hedda shoots her gun at her guest.Order now
In addition, women’s bodies were viewed as pure in Victorian society; women were expected to only sleep with their husbands. Judge Brack, a friend of the family, suggests to Hedda a love “triangle” or an affair. At first, Hedda refuses because an affair seems risky, but later on Brack convinces her and she agrees to the “triangle. ” “Frankly-I prefer the lady. But the man, too, of course, in his place. That kind of – let’s say, triangular arrangement – you can’t imagine how satisfying it can be all around” (Hedda Gabler, 252).
By setting up an affair with Brack, Hedda disregards society’s expectations. The small hint of doubt that Hedda had is due to the fact that she is “much too afraid of scandal” (Hedda Gabler, 256). Though she is afraid of “scandals,” she still takes her chance and does what she wants, but it ultimately destroys her. Hedda burns the manuscript belonging to Mrs. Elvsted and Hedda’s past lover and the academic rival of Hedda’s husband, Lovborg. This is a dreadful act for the manuscript is not Hedda’s and that it is a masterful piece of work by Lovborg.
“(throwing some of the sheets into the fire and whispering to herself). Now I’m burning your child, Thea!… (Throwing another sheaf in the stove. ) Your child and Eilert Lovborg’s. (Throwing in the rest. ) Now I’m burning – I’m burning the child” (Hedda Gabler, 288). The child refers to in the text is Mrs. Elvsted and Lovborg’s manuscript for the reason that the manuscript is a piece of work created by them both with love and effort. Hedda burns the manuscript for the reason that she is jealous. She hates the fact that Lovborg and Mrs.
Elvsted are in love, something that she does not have, so by destroying their “child”, Hedda is ruining their relationship. Different from other women of her time, Hedda’s power comes from plotting and executing evil deeds. She doesn’t care for her household, and goes further to damage the households of other families. In a shocking move, Hedda encourages Lovborg to commit suicide by handing him one of her guns. “You should have used it then,” says Lovborg. Hedda responds, “Here! Use it now”(Hedda Gabler, 288). This is a rebellious act for a lady in the nineteenth century as she encourages death and suicide.
After Lovborg’s death, Judge Brack goes to see Hedda. As a twist to the play, Brack has power over Hedda for he threatened her to reveal the truth about her gun being in Lovborg’s dead hands. Unexpectedly, just when the reader thought that the climax of the play is over, Hedda shockingly shoots herself with her other gun to avoid scandals. “Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Can you imagine! ” “But good God! People don’t do such things! ” (Hedda Gabler, 304) Hedda shooting herself is an act of going against authority because she wishes not to be controlled by Brack.
In addition, by taking her life, not only did she kill herself but she possible could have killed her unborn child, for there is ambiguity of her pregnancy. Conventionally, women were expected to take care of their children, but Hedda kills hers. It is illegal and not accepted by society to kill yourself and to kill another life, as Hedda executes both crimes. One of Hedda’s two guns is given to Lovborg to kill himself and for the guns to be a pair; it is as though the other gun must also be used to take away a life.
All her acts are considered rebellious to the reader and to society because her actions are not accepted and agreed upon. As a conclusion, Hedda and Antigone are “rebellious maidens” in their own sense. Each female is viewed as a rebel considering what is accepted by not only society but also the viewer and the law at the time.
Bibliography – Sophocles. The Theban Plays, Antigone, Penguin Group, 1947. – Ibsen, Henrik. Four Major Plays, Hedda Gabler, Signet Classics, 1965, Chicago. – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Women_in_the_Victorian_Era 1 wikipedia. org.