Hedda Gabler

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Hedda Gabler Character Analysis

Hedda, the daughter of the great General Gabler and the pregnant wife of Jörgen Tesman, is a beautiful, aristocratic, intelligent woman, loaded with social grace and a steely, clear, dispassionate charisma. She is 29 years old when the action of the play begins. She has a fiery lust for life and desires above all else a vision of courage and beauty. That being said, she is also bored by the world, and is egotistical, nihilistic, and almost demonic in her desire to influence other people’s fates. She behaves cruelly and destructively toward those around her while seeking to entertain and satisfy herself, going so far as to drive her comrade from adolescence, Ejlert Lövborg, to suicide. At the end of the play, to avoid scandal and escape the pettiness of bourgeois life, Hedda shoots herself with her father’s pistol, an act that she herself might describe as a beautiful death.

Hedda Gabler Quotes in Hedda Gabler

The Hedda Gabler quotes below are all either spoken by Hedda Gabler or refer to Hedda Gabler . 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!

Tesman: What are you looking at, Hedda?

Hedda: I’m just looking at the leaves on the trees. They’re so yellowed. And so withered.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Jörgen Tesman (speaker)
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

In the moments before this exchange, Tesman has embarrassed Hedda by hinting to Miss Tesman that Hedda is pregnant. Throughout the play, Hedda is at pains to deny her pregnancy, changing the topic or cutting Tesman off when he mentions it. After Tesman and his Aunt leave, Hedda is alone. She clenches her fists violently, revealing how aggravated she is by Miss Tesman's commonness, as well as Tesman's insistence on revealing her pregnancy. Hedda seemingly views the pregnancy as a burden, something shackling her to bourgeoisie domesticity, as well as a disgusting reminder that people might view her as a sexual being.  

In these lines, Tesman returns and we see how bitterly Hedda feels towards him and the domestic, procreative world he represents. Tesman's question is blundering—he does not recognize how much his hints about the pregnancy to Miss Tesman upset Hedda. Hedda's answer then illuminates her resentment for him (although not to him), as well as for the child she's carrying and all that comes along with her pregnancy. In the early stages of her marriage and pregnancy, a time of beginnings, she notices only the yellow, "withered" leaves, which are symbolic of stale repetition, death, and rot. Although Hedda's body is fertile, in this moment we see that her mindset is barren and hostile.

Hedda: Frightened? Of me?

Mrs. Elvsted: Oh, dreadfully frightened. When we met on the steps you used to pull my hair.

Hedda: No, did I really?

Mrs. Elvsted: Yes, and once you said you were going to burn it off.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Mrs. Thea Elvsted (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire and the Tesmans’ Stove
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs. Elvsted and Hedda have not seen one another in years. Their romantic histories have been intertwined, however, as Mrs. Elvsted used to be Tesman's sweetheart, and Hedda had an intense friendship with Lovborg, the man that Mrs. Elvsted is currently in love with. Although these connections are largely unspoken at this point, they contextualize the play of power and sexual jealousy in this exchange between the two women.

Here, Mrs. Elvsted is recalling how she was frightened of Hedda when they were younger. Her fear recalls Berte's earlier confession of being "so scared" of her mistress. Hedda inspires fear in the women around her because she exerts power over them, which goes against provincial stereotypes of feminine delicacy and sisterhood. Hedda is, of course, aware of these stereotypes and exploits them for her own gain later in this conversation, gossiping with Mrs. Elvsted in order to gain control over her.

In her lines here, Hedda acts as if she has forgotten that she used to bully Mrs. Elvsted, although we suspect that she has not, and that she takes pleasure in hearing Mrs. Elvsted recount her earlier manipulations and cruelties. The fact that the young Hedda targeted Mrs. Elvsted's hair is telling, as her hair is widely acknowledged as beautiful, and is attractive to men. Hedda's competitive social instincts were on display when she attacked it. 

Finally, Mrs. Elvsted recalls a young Hedda's threat to burn her hair off. This foreshadows the coming moment in the play when Hedda burns Lovborg's cherished manuscript. We see that Hedda has long had an impulse to destroy, often by fire, those things that others love best. 

Hedda: Oh, well…I’ve got one thing at least that I can pass the time with.

Tesman: Oh, thank the good Lord for that! And what might that be, Hedda? Eh?

Hedda: My pistols… Jörgen.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Jörgen Tesman
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the first act, we learn from Judge Brack that Tesman will have to compete with Lovborg for the academic position that was promised him. The new uncertainty about his employment, when coupled with their existing debt, leads Tesman to tell Hedda that she will not be immediately able to entertain guests or get the manservant and saddle-horse she wanted. Hedda's sphere of influence and power is getting smaller and smaller. Socializing is one of her primary methods of manipulation and control, and the saddle horse and manservant are objects over which she could have exerted power. Without these things available to her, Hedda says that she has only "one thing" to pass the time.

Tesman is delighted and responds with excitement. He incorrectly assumes that Hedda is speaking about their unborn child and that she is looking forward to being a mother.

In the context of Tesman's hope, Hedda's response is brutal. She has been referring to General Gabler's treasured pistols, not her unborn child. The pistols are symbols of male, phallic power and destruction, as well as of the aristocratic world in which Hedda was raised and now misses. They are the polar opposite of a baby. They take life where a baby brings life. They are power embodied, while a baby is the embodiment of vulnerability. 

Of course, the only thing one can do with pistols is shoot them, which foreshadows the violent ways in which Hedda actually will pass her time. This exchange is made more potent by Hedda's eventual suicide—she will literally pass her time with one of her father's pistols. 

Act 2 Quotes

Hedda: Hullo again, Mr. Brack!

Brack: Good afternoon to you, Mrs. Tesman!

Hedda: I’m going to shoot you sir!

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

The second act opens with Hedda loading her father's pistols before Judge Brack arrives in her garden. This shocking moment between Hedda and Judge Brack reveals how dramatically Hedda can exert her power and influence, as well as how detached she is from the "normal" social norms of the bourgeoisie.

The first two lines are regular and even friendly. Hedda and Brack refer to one another politely, and they are operating well within their established social boundaries. Hedda's next line, "I'm going to shoot you sir!" is then a shocking satire of their earlier greeting. By calling him "sir" as she threatens to shoot him, she mocks their superficial politeness even as she reveals the brutality beneath it. Judge Brack and Hedda spend the length of the play trying to control one another, and it is telling that this darkly comic moment is the first time we have seen them alone with one another onstage.  

This is not an idle threat, either, as Hedda does go on to shoot at (and purposefully miss) Judge Brack. In doing so, she further reveals how detached she is from the society that surrounds her. To joke about shooting at people is scandalous enough—to actually do it is astonishing. Hedda is a loose gunshot in a hushed, provincial world.

Brack: But my dearest lady, how could you do such a thing! To that harmless old soul!

Hedda: Oh, you know how it is…these things just suddenly come over me. And then I can’t resist them. Oh, I don’t know myself how to explain it.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

Hedda and Judge Brack have been speaking privately, and Hedda has told Brack that she was bored on her honeymoon and that she is not in love with Tesman. Brack propositions Hedda to begin an affair with him, but she turns him down, feeling that an affair would be sordid, unbeautiful, and limiting.

Here, she has just confessed that she mocked Miss Tesman's hat on purpose in Act One, and Brack is admonishing her for it. In this exchange, we see the tension between modern society and the individual, with Brack on the side of society, and Hedda expressing herself in radically individual terms. 

Brack's surprise is dependent on social norms—Miss Tesman is "harmless" and "old," and therefore cruelty towards her is unwarranted. For Hedda, however, these considerations are not important. She is capriciously cruel and decided to hurt Miss Tesman simply because the opportunity presented itself. 

In her lines, Hedda reveals her lack of motivation for the act. "These things just suddenly come over" her, she says. Hedda is desperately stifled by her life and the people surrounding her, and because of this, she takes every chance of exercising power, regardless of how petty or arbitrary it may be.  

Hedda: I’ve often thought there’s only one thing in the world I’m any good at.

Brack: And what might that be, may I venture to ask?

Hedda: Boring myself to death.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

Later in her conversation with Judge Brack, Hedda laments how there is nothing to interest her in the future—no potential for excitement or intrigue. Brack says that she will soon have a new responsibility (presumably motherhood) which will fill her days. Here, we see her response to this allusion, which again reveals her animosity towards the role of motherhood. 

The only talent Hedda has, according to Hedda, is boring herself "to death." We see that Hedda would prefer to die of boredom than to become a mother, which would entail a complete loss of power and agency to her child. 

This line is especially interesting in the context of Hedda's suicide. We might wonder how much of a part boredom and frustration play into her eventual death. 

When I think back to that time, wasn’t there something beautiful, something attractive…something courageous too, it seems to me…about this…this secret intimacy, this companionship that no one even dreamed of.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker)
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

Lovborg has arrived at the Tesman's villa, after being invited by Tesman earlier in the day. Judge Brack and Tesman have retired to drink alcoholic punch together in another room, leaving Hedda and Lovborg alone together. They fall to remembering their youthful relationship, which Hedda insists was merely friendly—they were "companions." Lovborg, however, asks Hedda repeatedly if she was not in love with him to some degree. These lines are her response.

This moment is as close as Hedda will come to admitting genuine feeling for someone, but she pulls up short of saying that she loved Lovborg. Her description of their relationship, however, can be seen as a kind of personal ideal. It is the opposite of her banal, public, sexual relationship with Tesman. It was "courageous," "beautiful," and secret from others. And as we know, beauty and courage are in short supply in Hedda's current life. 

We see here that Hedda relished her relationship with Lovborg as something exceptional and different—beyond the stifling bourgeoisie social norms of what is acceptable between men and women. And, after these lines, we can understand why Hedda goes to such extraordinary lengths to reestablish her control over Lovborg. 

For once in my life I want to feel that I control a human destiny.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker)
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

Hedda says this to Mrs. Elvsted after Lovborg has left the villa to join Brack and Tesman at the bachelor party. Originally, Lovborg had not been planning to go to the party, because he didn't want to be tempted by alcohol. However, Hedda induces him to drink some alcoholic punch by breaking Mrs. Elvsted's confidence and revealing that Mrs. Elvsted had been nervous about whether Lovborg would drink or not. Mrs. Elvsted's lack of faith in him shocks and upsets Lovborg, and he leaves for the party in defiance. 

Alone with Hedda, Mrs. Elvsted accuses her of having ulterior motives for manipulating Lovborg into going to the party. Hedda admits that's she right—Hedda does want to "control a human destiny"—Lovborg's. This line is Hedda at her most clear and revealing. She wants power and influence over others above all else. She wants to orchestrate a beautiful and courageous act. The act she has in mind at this point is Lovborg's mastery of his own spirit in the face of great temptation (which will reflect her own mastery over him), but the particulars are not as important to her as the essence of beauty, courage, and manipulation. 

It is also interesting that Hedda must look outside herself for a human destiny to control, which suggests that she feels she cannot control her own destiny in a way that would be rewarding. 

Act 3 Quotes

I don’t want to look at sickness and death. I must be free of everything that’s ugly.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker)
Related Symbols: Lövborg and Thea’s Manuscript
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

Lovborg failed to control himself and went on a drinking spree, during which he lost his precious manuscript. Tesman found the manuscript in a gutter, and is now discussing the night with Hedda. He resolves to return the manuscript to Lovborg immediately. A letter then arrives from Miss Tesman, telling Tesman that his Aunt Rina is about to die—and this distracts him from the question of the manuscript. Here, Tesman has just asked Hedda to come with him to Aunt Rina's deathbed, and Hedda responds that she does not "want to look at sickness and death."

Her response illuminates her cruelty as well as her disdain for social norms. Hedda frames going to a family member's deathbed as a matter of "want," when most people, Tesman included, would consider it a necessary, humane duty. Hedda, however, is disgusted not only by the ugliness of death but by its commonness. Aunt Rina's death, particularly, which is caused by a long illness, is pathetic and disturbing to Hedda in its lack of agency. A woman who is obsessed with a "beautiful death" will not go and sit by a sick bed. 

In terms of the plot, Hedda's refusal to go with Tesman then leaves her alone with Lovborg's cherished manuscript. 

Hedda: You’re quite a formidable person…when it comes to the point.

Brack: You think so?

Hedda: Yes, I’m beginning to think so, now. And I’m content…so long as you don’t have any sort of hold over me.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

Judge Brack has been telling Hedda the details of Lovborg's drinking spree the night before. In addition to drinking too much, Lovborg went to a brothel, started a fight, and was arrested. Hedda asks why Brack has been tracking Lovborg's movements so closely, and Brack responds that he wanted to ensure that Lovborg will not be invited to the Tesman villa again. He wants to the be the only other man in Hedda's life, and he will fight for the privilege.

Hedda and Judge Brack are the characters in the play with the most visible desire to exercise power and influence over other people, and in these lines we see them grappling with one another, trying to assert dominance.

In her lines, Hedda says that Brack is "formidable," and in this moment she realizes that he will not be satisfied until he has exercised his power over her by compelling her to have an affair with him. Brack is not a worthy opponent for Hedda, as the very way in which he wants to break social norms—an extramarital affair—is common and sordid to Hedda. Hedda responds defensively by reminding him that he doesn't have power over her, and that she could never live with herself if he did.

Hedda: And what are you going to do, then?

Lövborg: Nothing. Just put an end to it all. The sooner the better.

Hedda: Ejlert Lövborg…listen to me…. Couldn’t you let it happen… beautifully?

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Ejlert Lövborg (speaker)
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols, Lövborg and Thea’s Manuscript
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

After Mrs. Elvsted leaves in tears, Lovborg confesses to Hedda that he has in fact lost the manuscript. Here, Hedda asks him what he will do now, and Lovborg replies that he will "put an end to it" by killing himself. Hedda, whose first plan to influence Lovborg's life has failed, encourages him towards a new path—a beautiful death. She sees suicide as the ultimate sign of control over one's life, and since Lovborg could not control his drinking or the fate of his manuscript, he must make his last action purposeful and beautiful.  

Of course, this is Hedda's last chance to influence Lovborg's destiny, and she knows it. She tells him never to return to the Tesman villa, and gives him one of General Gabler's pistols before he goes, intending for it to be the instrument of his suicide. The pistol, a symbol of control and violence, is an extension of Hedda's influence. It is also a symbol for their youthful time together, where they use to meet in General Gabler's home. For all of its symbolic importance, however, the gift is poorly thought out, as it will directly link Hedda to Lovborg's death when he kills himself with it. 

Now I’m burning your child, Thea! With your curly hair! Your child and Ejlert Lövborg’s. I’m burning…burning your child.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Ejlert Lövborg, Mrs. Thea Elvsted
Related Symbols: Lövborg and Thea’s Manuscript, Fire and the Tesmans’ Stove
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:

After Lovborg leaves, Hedda feeds his manuscript into the fire and murmurs these lines to herself. She addresses her lines to Mrs. Elvsted (and again refers to her famously beautiful hair), revealing the part that jealousy plays in this action. By referring to the manuscript as their child, Hedda confirms Mrs. Elvsted's influence and intimacy with Lovborg. The fact that Mrs. Elvsted influenced Lovborg productively (as Hedda has not been able to) enrages Hedda, and she is compelled to destroy the product of their partnership. 

Her investment in Lovborg's beautiful death also motivates her to burn the manuscript. Without the manuscript, Lovborg has nothing to live for, and Hedda wants to ensure that neither he nor anyone else has a way of discovering it. 

Finally, this moment is one of Hedda's most desperate acts of control. She destroys the manuscript for many reasons, of course, but perhaps the primary reason is a yearning to destroy as a means of control. Since she cannot create anything beautiful, she must content herself with destroying something precious. 

Act 4 Quotes

Hedda: Oh, it’ll kill me…it’ll kill me, all this!

Tesman: All what, Hedda? Eh?

Hedda: All this…this farce…Jörgen.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Jörgen Tesman (speaker)
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:

Hedda has told Tesman that she destroyed the manuscript. He is angry with her, and she soothes him by telling him it was for his sake, because he had been jealous of Lovborg. Tesman is touched but still upset, and so Hedda must go further. She admits her pregnancy for the first time in the play, and Tesman is predictably delighted. 

In these lines, Hedda reveals how much she despises the "farce" that she is trapped in. The farce is her life with Tesman, and the role of wife and now mother that she must play in it. It is disgusting to her that she has had to pretend to love Tesman in order to protect herself—so disgusting that she says that it will kill her.  

Hedda is brilliant and violent, but after this moment she must submit her spirit to the banal, cliched role of the caring woman, the domesticated wife. She must live in the farce that she has spent her life mocking and denying, and the idea is hateful to her. 

Hedda: He was shot in the breast?

Brack: Yes…as I said.

Hedda: Not in the temple?

Brack: In the breast, Mrs. Tesman.

Hedda: Well…the breast is good, too.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack (speaker), Ejlert Lövborg
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

Judge Brack and Mrs. Elvsted enter and Brack tells them that Lovborg is in the hospital after a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and is not expected to survive. Hedda's delight at this news is clouded by Brack's information that Lovborg was shot in the breast. 

Here, Hedda confirms that he did not shoot himself in the temple. She is surprised and upset by this fact. The temple, she feels, would be the correct, most beautiful way to commit suicide. Presumably, because it would destroy the brain and be an instantaneous death, whereas the breast would target the more sentimental organ of the heart, and be a slower, more prolonged and less dignified death. Additionally, the fact that he shot himself in the breast undermines Hedda's control over Lovborg, which would have been total had he shot himself where she wanted him to. Brack, for his part, is growing suspicious of Hedda during this exchange.

After a moment, Hedda says nearly inaudibly that "the breast is good, too." The control of suicide itself is the most important part of the beautiful death, and shooting oneself in the breast is still courageous and beautiful, she feels, if slightly less so than the temple. Hedda compromises here by accepting the breast into her plan for Lovborg, and in doing so reveals further how desperate she is to feel that she had control over Lovborg's final, fatal action. 


It’s a liberation to know that an act of spontaneous courage is yet possible in this world. An act that has something of unconditional beauty.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Ejlert Lövborg
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

To everyone's shock, Hedda says that she admires Lovborg's suicide. She describes it as an act of "spontaneous courage." Hedda's disconnect from the society around her is violently clear in this moment. Everyone else considers Lovborg's suicide to be motivated by temporary insanity. Hedda, however, sees it as the clearest sign of sanity and control, marked by "unconditional beauty." She is revealing her fiercely independent nature in this moment, and the people around her are horrified when she takes off her social mask and says what she really thinks.

Hedda is pleased with Lovborg, but also feeling her own absolute power here. If Lovborg achieved a moment of unconditional beauty, of grand tragedy, it was under her guidance. He was led by her influence, and guided by her hand. We see here how desperate Hedda has felt for beauty and tragedy up to this point in her life. Her admiration for Lovborg's act reveals just how petty and ugly everything else in her life has seemed to her. 

Everything I touch seems destined to turn into something mean and farcical.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker)
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

Hedda and Judge Brack continue discussing Lovborg's suicide with one another. Hedda is surprisingly open with Brack about how Lovborg's action has impressed her. Brack, however, disabuses Hedda of this beautiful illusion. He reveals to her that Lovborg was actually shot in a brothel trying to retrieve his lost manuscript, and that the pistol went off accidentally. The final revelation is that Lovborg was shot in the stomach, not the breast. 

Here, Hedda's response reveals her horror and disgust at Brack's news about Lovborg. Lovborg's actions were far from being heroic or courageous. Instead of the beautiful suicide Hedda imagined for him, Lovborg died accidentally, scrambling with prostitutes, from a shot to the gut. Nothing could be more ugly. If one's temple is the most tragic and beautiful place to shoot oneself, then the stomach is the most disgusting, banal, and sordid.

Hedda has led Lovborg to a grimy, farcical death. In this line, she suggests that what has happened to Lovborg is symptomatic—"everything" she touches rots and becomes ugly. For a woman who wants nothing more than for her touch, her influence, to inspire tragedy, beauty, and courage, this is the most horrifying realization possible. She feels now that there is no chance for her to create or influence something beautiful in the world (as Mrs. Elvsted managed to do with Lovborg's manuscript). Hedda has lost her hope of controlling others or creating beauty, and with it she has lost her primary motivation to live. 

Hedda: And so I am in your power, Mr. Brack. From now on I am at your mercy.

Brack: Dearest Hedda…believe me…I shall not abuse the position.

Hedda: In your power, all the same. Subject to your will and your demands. No longer free! No! That’s a thought that I’ll never endure! Never.

Related Characters: Hedda Gabler (speaker), Judge Brack (speaker)
Related Symbols: General Gabler’s Pistols
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

General Gabler's pistol links Hedda to Lovborg's death. If it is discovered that the pistol was hers, she will be forced to testify in court that he either stole it, or that she gave it to him. In either case, it will be a terrible scandal. Judge Brack says, however, that no one need know that the pistol was hers—that he will not tell anyone. 

Here, Hedda sees at what cost Brack's silence will come. She will have to subordinate her will to his. He has been attempting to gain control over her for the length of the play, and now, finally, he has found a way to trap her. Brack's falsely benevolent response that he will "not abuse the position" is disgusting to Hedda. It is a reminder that the position is his to abuse or not—he has complete control over her.

Hedda responds accordingly. The situation is unlivable. She cannot endure even the "thought" of being controlled by another person, much less the act of being in their power. This is the deciding moment for Hedda. She can either go along with Brack, and be "no longer free," or she can make a last free choice—to kill herself. Hedda's will is much stronger than that of Lovborg's, and her death will be as beautiful and courageous, as she can make it. She then excuses herself and shoots herself in the temple. Rather than spend a moment under the thumb of another human being, Hedda exercises her last, spectacular display of power. The question for us, then, is whether to view this suicide as Hedda intended—a beautiful tragedy—or as the cliched ending to a farcical attempt at manipulation and creation—or as both.

Get the entire Hedda Gabler LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hedda gabler.pdf.medium

Hedda Gabler Character Timeline in Hedda Gabler

The timeline below shows where the character Hedda Gabler 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
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Miss Tesman observes in a quiet voice 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... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...Tesman, in whose household Berte served formerly, turns to the subject of Berte’s new mistress, Hedda. Though it pained Miss Tesman to give up Berte, she had to do it so... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Miss Tesman says that it is a matter of course that Hedda should be so particular: she is, after all, the great General Gabler’s daughter. Berte declares... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...the loose covers off of the furniture. Miss Tesman asks why, and Berte explains that Hedda insisted. Miss Tesman asks if the couple intends to use the drawing room every day.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...Tesman), saying he hopes she got enough sleep the night before—she had greeted him and Hedda at the quay last night when they arrived. Tesman apologizes for having not been able... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman begins to tell Aunt Julle all about his and Hedda’s honeymoon. He took enough research notes to fill a whole suitcase, he says, after managing... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...cheerful tone. Tesman is a married man now, and he is married to the lovely Hedda Gabler, who always had so many admirers around her! Tesman hums and smirks a bit... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...surely. Tesman explains that his big fellowship helped quite a bit, and that the genteel Hedda had to have that honeymoon trip despite the expenses. How do you like your new... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
As far as the house is concerned, Tesman is most pleased for Hedda’s sake: even before they got engaged, she told him that she only wanted to live... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...crafts of medieval Brabant! But the most wonderful thing of all, says Tesman, is that Hedda is his wife. (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
Just then, Hedda enters, dressed in a tasteful morning gown. After greeting Miss Tesman somewhat tartly, she complains... (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
...ago by Aunt Rina despite her illness. Tesman himself is delighted and waxes sentimental, while Hedda implies that the gift has no significance to her and is, in fact, somewhat shabby. (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
Tesman persists in his sentimentality, but Hedda abruptly interrupts him to say that she cannot manage with Berte as the household’s maid.... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...attempt to smooth things over, Tesman asks his aunt to take a good look at Hedda before she goes. Yes, she’s always been lovely, Aunt Julle remarks. Tesman declares that Hedda... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Alone, Hedda walks about the room, raises her arms, and clenches her fists as though in a... (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
Tesman remarks that his Aunt Julle was behaving rather affectedly, but Hedda says she wouldn’t know. She insists that it was socially inappropriate for Miss Tesman to... (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
Tesman asks his wife if anything is the matter. Hedda replies that her old piano doesn’t go with the rest of the things in the... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
At this point that Hedda takes the bunch of flowers from the piano and finds a card that reads: “Will... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...hall door and announces that Mrs. Elvsted is back for the second time that morning. Hedda asks that she be brought in. Mrs. Elvsted enters in a tasteful dress that is... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
“How can this possibly concern you,” Hedda asks. Mrs. Elvsted gives a scared look, then quickly says that Lövborg is her stepchildren’s... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Mrs. Elvsted proceeds to say that she’s succeeded in finding Lövborg’s address. Hedda gives her a searching glance and wonders aloud why Mrs. Elvsted’s husband wouldn’t come to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...up throughout and calling Mrs. Elvsted by her maiden name, Rysing) promises to do so. Hedda even suggests that Tesman write to Lövborg at once, a warm, friendly, long letter. Tesman... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Hedda goes over to Mrs. Elvsted with a smile, and in a low voice says that... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Mrs. Elvsted doesn’t want to talk about her life at home at all, so Hedda tries to make her feel more comfortable by reminding her that the two used to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda dismisses this, and insists that Mrs. Elvsted refer to her informally by her first name,... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda is pleased, and she promises to call Mrs. Elvsted by her first name, which she... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda presses Thea Elvsted for more of her life story. It all comes out: Thea went... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Casually Hedda asks Thea about the fact that Ejlert Lövborg has been living near her for about... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda then asks what Thea’s husband is really like. After some evasive answers, Thea admits that... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Thea is depressed and exhausted by this point, but Hedda asks her how her “familiarity” with Ejlert Lövborg came about. Gradually, Thea says, “I got... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...her happiness with him, will last: the shadow of another woman stands between the two. Hedda is keenly interested to know who this other woman might be—but Thea only knows that... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Hedda hears Tesman coming, and she and Thea agree to keep their discussion to themselves. Tesman... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
...arranged the household’s finances a little more modestly. Tesman protests that he couldn’t have, for Hedda’s sake. He asks Brack if there’s been any news about the professorship he’s counting on.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda has come in from the hall during her husband’s last speech. Laughing a little scornfully,... (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
...Brack assures him that he’ll still most probably get it, after a bit of competition. Hedda thinks all this will turn out to be “quite a sporting event,” and she says... (full context)
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
Judge Brack exits. Tesman confides in Hedda that it was “idiotically romantic” of him to get married and buy a house on... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
It also becomes clear to Hedda that now she won’t be able to get either a manservant or a saddle-horse, as... (full context)
Act 2
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...been removed and a writing desk has been put in its place. It is afternoon. Hedda, dressed to receive visitors, stands alone in the room by the glass door, loading a... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Hedda sees Judge Brack approaching the Tesmans’ villa from the back, through the garden. She greets... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda complains that she hasn’t had any visitors. Judge Brack asks if Tesman is in, but... (full context)
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
Hedda and Judge Brack sit down for a comfortable gossip. The two say they have missed... (full context)
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Judge Brack wonders how it was that Tesman won Hedda’s hand in marriage in the first place. She implies that she had “had her day”... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Judge Brack laughs and says that he respects the bonds of holy matrimony. Hedda banteringly says she never had high hopes of marrying him (Brack) anyway. For his part,... (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
Hedda concedes that she would have been glad of a third person on her honeymoon trip.... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...before. Then Tesman excuses himself to change out of his sweaty clothes—but not before informing Hedda that Aunt Julle won’t be stopping by later. Hedda assumes this is because of the... (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
Tesman exits. Judge Brack asks Hedda about the hat incident, and Hedda reveals that she only pretended to think Aunt Julle’s... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda goes on to reveal that the villa she and Tesman now live in was never... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda complains of the smell of lavender and potpourri in her house, which she suspects 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
Hedda leans back and tells Brack that he can’t imagine how excruciatingly bored she will be... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Judge Brack then suggests that Hedda might have to take on a new responsibility soon enough (presumably motherhood)—a suggestion which angers... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...confident that his old friend and rival will not compete with him for the professorship. Hedda suggests that if Lövborg decides not to go to Judge Brack’s bachelor party later that... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...as we know). Tesman says he would never have thought to write such a book. Hedda quietly agrees with him. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...himself. Brack invites Lövborg along, but the former alcoholic declines, despite Brack and Tesman’s encouragement. Hedda says that Lövborg would rather stay where he is and take supper with her, anyway—and... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...only wants to outshine his rival in reputation. Tesman is relieved, and he reiterates to Hedda that Lövborg won’t stand in their way after all. Leave me out of it, says... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda invites the gentlemen to partake of some cold (alcoholic) punch. Brack and the excited Tesman... (full context)
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Softly and slowly, Lövborg murmurs Hedda’s name (including her maiden name, Gabler). Hedda hushes him, but he softly and slowly repeats... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman enters and Hedda pretends to be talking about the photos from her trip again. Tesman offers her some... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Lövborg again asks, quietly as before, how Hedda could throw herself away on Tesman. Hedda responds that she will not be spoken to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman returns with a tray. “Why don’t you leave that to the maid?” asks Hedda. Because it’s fun to wait on you, answers her husband. He fills two glasses with... (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
Lövborg, alone again with Hedda, has a single question for her: was there no love, not even a trace, in... (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
Lövborg concludes that his relationship with Hedda was based on a common lust for life—so then, he asks, why didn’t it last?... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...started to get dark. Berte opens the hall door and Thea Elvsted enters, greeted by Hedda and all the gentlemen. Thea confirms that Lövborg will not be going out on the... (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
Hedda offers Thea some cold punch, but she declines, as does Lövborg. Lövborg says he would... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Lövborg is steadfast: he will not drink or go out partying. Hedda smiles approvingly. She reminds Thea of earlier that morning, when she (Thea) came to the... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...up a glass of punch, hoarsely toasts her, downs the glass, and then, after toasting Hedda’s honesty, he downs another. That’s enough, Hedda says as he begins to refill his glass—he... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...from the Tesmans’ at ten o’clock that night. Let the partying begin, says Judge Brack. Hedda says she wishes she could come to the party as an invisible onlooker, so as... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
The men exit. Thea, wandering about uneasily, wonders how the night will end. Hedda is confident that Lövborg will return at ten o’clock “with vine leaves in his hair,”... (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... (full context)
Act 3
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...an armchair, anxiously waiting for Lövborg to return, as she has been sleeplessly all night. Hedda is sleeping quite well on the sofa. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda is woken by the closing of the door. She asks Thea the time: it is... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Thea says that not even Hedda herself believes what she’s saying, and Hedda calls her “a little ninny”—“you look tired to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Hedda draws the curtains, inspects herself in a mirror, and arranges her hair. She then rings... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman, tired and serious, creeps into the drawing room on tiptoe. Hedda greets him, and he is surprised that she is already up. Hedda asks her husband... (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
...goes on, Lövborg is beyond reform. Because he’s got more courage than the rest? asks Hedda. No, her husband responds: because he has no self-control. The party degenerated into something of... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
...Tesman resolves to return Lövborg’s manuscript to him as soon as possible. Please don’t, asks Hedda—she wants to read it first. Tesman says he dare not do that, because this is... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Casually, Hedda tells Tesman that there’s a letter for him from Aunt Julle. Tesman reads it: Aunt... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Berte enters and announces that Judge Brack is outside. Hedda orders her to admit him. Hedda the snatches Lövborg’s manuscript from the stool Tesman has... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Judge Brack enters just as Tesman rushes off to see Aunt Rina. Hedda and Brack sit in the drawing room, and Brack reveals that a few of his... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda looks away, disappointed to hear that Lövborg, far from having the metaphorical vine leaves in... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...fight using every means at his disposal to keep Lövborg out of the Tesmans’ house. Hedda, her smile fading, says that Brack is quite a formidable person, and she confesses to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...the garden, saying that he has no objection to going around through the back way. Hedda reminds him that she conducts target practice with her pistols in the back, but Brack... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda goes to the bookshelf and is about to look at Lövborg’s manuscript when she hears... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Thea Elvsted enters. Lövborg announces to her, “I’m finished.” He insists that Hedda stay in the room, and promises not to talk about the drunken debauchery of the... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...and scattered the thousand pieces of it out into the fjord. No, no! shrieks Thea. Hedda involuntarily begins to call Lövborg out on his lie, but restrains herself from doing so.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Lövborg confesses to Hedda that he knows now that he cannot reform his life, but also that he can’t... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
“What are you going to do?” asks Hedda. Lövborg says he’s just going to put an end to it all—that is, commit suicide.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Alone, Hedda retrieves Lövborg’s manuscript, looks at some of the pages, and then sits down with it... (full context)
Act 4
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Act 4 opens on the Tesmans’ drawing room. It is evening. Hedda, dressed in black, is walking aimlessly about the darkened room. She goes into the inner... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Aunt Julle announces that her sister Rina has at last passed away. Hedda already knows this, as Tesman sent her a note. Miss Tesman felt obliged to deliver... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...such a loss. Be glad of what has come to pass, Aunt Julle advises him. Hedda supposes that Aunt Julle will be lonely now that her sister has died, but Aunt... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman confides to Hedda that he’s upset not only about Aunt Rina’s death but also about Lövborg, to whom... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman is outraged. He yells at Hedda, and says that she’s committed a felony, as Judge Brack could inform her (don’t tell... (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
...Tesman is torn between doubt and happiness—he never knew his wife loved him like that. Hedda then goes a step further, and suggests of her own volition (for the first time... (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
...incredible rumors about him going around. Some people even say he is in the hospital. Hedda expresses surprise that Thea, as a married woman, could bring herself to go about town... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...one is allowed to see him. Tesman wonders whether Lövborg could have killed himself, and Hedda says that she’s certain he did (this makes Brack suspicious). Hedda even “guesses” that Lövborg... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...“Somewhere else then,” says Brack. He also reveals that Lövborg shot himself in the breast. Hedda is surprised: “Not in the temple?” she asks. “In the breast,” Judge Brack repeats. “The... (full context)
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda, for one, feels triumphant. To everyone’s shock and alarm, she praises Lövborg for the courage... (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
Hedda sits in an armchair and after a while Judge Brack joins her. Hedda confides in... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Judge Brack feels compelled to disabuse Hedda of a beautiful illusion: Lövborg shot himself accidentally. Moreover, the Judge told a few lies... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda is disgusted: “Everything I touch seems destined to turn into something…farcical,” she says. Brack has... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...asks his wife if he can work at her desk, where the light is better. Hedda permits it, but says she must clear some things away first. She takes an object,... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda and Judge Brack whisperingly resume their conversation about the pistol that Lövborg died by. Brack... (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
...owns the pistol, Judge Brack goes on to say, if he himself holds his tongue. Hedda understands at once that this places her in the Judge’s power, subject to his will... (full context)
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Hedda rises, and remarks that Thea is now sitting here with Tesman working just as she... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
Hedda says that she must go lie down on the sofa in the inner room. She... (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
Back at the desk, Tesman tells Thea that it’s probably not good for Hedda to see the two of them working together. He says that Thea will have to... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Tesman responds that Judge Brack will visit Hedda, and Brack confirms that he’ll visit every single night—the two of them will have a... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
A shot is then heard from the inner room. Everyone jumps to their feet—Hedda is playing with those pistols again, says Tesman. He pulls the curtain aside and runs... (full context)