Hedda Gabler

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Berte is a plain, kindly, dedicated maid of a “somewhat countrified exterior” who served in Juliane Tesman’s household before transferring into the service of Jörgen and Hedda. Miss Tesman and her nephew are very fond of Berte, but Hedda decidedly is not. She is very severe with the maid, who fears she won’t be able to accommodate Hedda’s grand, aristocratic ways.

Berte Quotes in Hedda Gabler

The Hedda Gabler quotes below are all either spoken by Berte or refer to Berte. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Power and Influence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Oxford University Press edition of Hedda Gabler published in 2008.
Act 1 Quotes

Berte: I’m really so scared I’ll never give satisfaction to the young mistress.

Miss Tesman: Oh, Heavens…just to begin with of course there might be this and that…

Berte: Because she’s ever so particular.

Related Characters: Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) (speaker), Berte (speaker), Hedda Gabler
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

Miss Tesman and Berte are close friends from Berte's years of service in Miss Tesman's house, which came to an end recently when Miss Tesman sent Berte to work in her nephew Jorgen's house. They are discussing Hedda, Jorgen's new wife (and therefore Berte's new mistress), in a spare moment while Hedda is sleeping. Their voices are hushed. The scene has a sense of secrecy and haste, implying Hedda's power and ability to intimidate others even when she is not present. Additionally, Hedda's power and influence are felt in the portrait of her father, General Gabler, which looks out over the scene. 

The quote also suggests the various concerns and motivations of the characters. Both Berte and Miss Tesman are invested in the happiness of Jorgen Tesman, which means maintaining the domestic sphere in a way that will please Hedda. But the fact that Hedda is "ever so particular" suggests a few things. First, Hedda has higher standards than both Tesman and his Aunt Julle, both of whom are more provincial in their tastes. But Berte's fearfulness and dismay also gives a hint of something that will become more evident as the play continues: the fact that Hedda despises the domestic sphere entirely, and that Hedda's capriciousness—her being "ever so particular"—is in fact a way for her to wield power over other people. Meanwhile, the fact that Hedda wields such domestic power over her servants while under the dead gaze of her general father's portrait also emphasizes the way that women are marginalized in this society. Hedda wields power, but she is nonetheless stuck in the domestic sphere she hates. She will never be a general.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Hedda Gabler quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Hedda Gabler LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hedda gabler.pdf.medium

Berte Character Timeline in Hedda Gabler

The timeline below shows where the character Berte appears in Hedda Gabler. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...Julianne Tesman, the old, benevolent aunt of the master of the house, enters, followed by Berte, the household maid, who is carrying a bunch of flowers. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...that her nephew Jörgen Tesman and his wife Hedda don’t seem to be awake yet. Berte says that the couple returned from their honeymoon very late the night before, and that... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Berte searches for a place to set down the flowers she’s carrying, but there’s hardly room... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...that Hedda should be so particular: she is, after all, the great General Gabler’s daughter. Berte declares that she never dreamed of Hedda and Mr. Jörgen making a match—nor did Miss... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...the grave and see what’s become of his son Jörgen. Just then, she notices that Berte has taken all the loose covers off of the furniture. Miss Tesman asks why, and... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...that had to come. Aunt Julle says it’s quite all right—Judge Brack took her home. Berte asks if she should go into Miss Hedda’s chambers and ask whether she wants anything.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...in his sentimentality, but Hedda abruptly interrupts him to say that she cannot manage with Berte as the household’s maid. Tesman asks why not, and Hedda points and says that Berte... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Berte appears at the hall door and announces that Mrs. Elvsted is back for the second... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
...for Lövborg, signed and sealed in his hand, which he asks Hedda to give to Berte. Hedda takes the letter, but just then Berte enters from the hall. Judge Brack is... (full context)
Act 2
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...his arms and in his pockets. He is surprised to find Brack there already, as Berte didn’t mention anything about a guest. Tesman goes on to say that he has with... (full context)
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Berte enters and announces that Lövborg has arrived. He enters at once: he is both lean... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...supper with her, anyway—and also, of course, with Mrs. Elvsted. Lövborg agrees, and Hedda summons Berte to make the necessary arrangements. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
It has started to get dark. Berte opens the hall door and Thea Elvsted enters, greeted by Hedda and all the gentlemen.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Thea cries out to be let go, frightened of Hedda. Berte enters and announces that everything is ready in the dining room. Hedda says that the... (full context)
Act 3
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Berte enters with a letter, which Thea thinks concerns Lövborg—but it does not. It is from... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...after getting drunk, Tesman went over to Aunt Julle’s to sleep it off—but the letter Berte brought in suggests otherwise. Well, says Hedda, then both Tesman and Lövborg must be at... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
...the curtains, inspects herself in a mirror, and arranges her hair. She then rings for Berte to come. Berte enters, and Hedda instructs her to put more wood on the fire.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Berte enters and announces that Judge Brack is outside. Hedda orders her to admit him. Hedda... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...about to look at Lövborg’s manuscript when she hears an altercation in the hall. Despite Berte’s best efforts, a confused and excited Lövborg forces himself into the Tesmans’ drawing room. You’re... (full context)
Act 4
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...goes into the inner room, plays a few chords on the piano, and then reemerges. Berte quickly enters and exits, and her eyes show signs of weeping. After a while Aunt... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...joy. Be quiet, says Hedda, or the maid will hear. Tesman says that he’ll tell Berte himself. Hedda clenches her hands and murmurs almost inaudibly, “Oh, it’ll kill me.” Tesman asks... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...in, followed by Thea. They find Hedda dead. Confusion and shouting ensue, and an alarmed Berte comes in from the right. Tesman cries that his wife has shot herself in the... (full context)