Hedda Gabler

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Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) Character Analysis

Jörgen Tesman’s paternal aunt, Juliane Tesman is a good-looking, conventional, chatty woman who cared for her nephew after his parents’ deaths. Though Jörgen is an adult when the play begins, his Aunt Julle, some 65 years old, still dotes on him, lending him money, bringing him sentimental gifts, and showering him with praise and encouragement. She looks forward to the day when he and his wife Hedda will bring a child into the world. Though Hedda can be cruel to Miss Tesman, Aunt Julle withstands her with a pinched dignity. Miss Tesman lives with another of Jörgen’s aunts, Aunt Rina, who is an invalid. Aunt Julle would be just as bored as Hedda, the play implies, if she didn’t have someone like Aunt Rina to constantly care for and tend to.

Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) Quotes in Hedda Gabler

The Hedda Gabler quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) or refer to Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle). 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.

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Tesman: Oh, Auntie…you’ll never stop sacrificing yourself for me!

Miss Tesman: Isn’t it the only joy I have in the world, to help you along your road, my darling boy?

Related Characters: Jörgen Tesman (speaker), Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) (speaker)
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

Tesman and his aunt have been speaking about his extravagantly expensive honeymoon, as well as the huge cost of the villa he has bought, both of which expenses he was inspired to by Hedda. Now, Miss Tesman has just revealed that she's taken out a mortgage against the annuity (a fixed income) that supports her and Aunt Rina in order to purchase the household furnishings for Tesman's villa. This sacrifice, which puts her own income in jeopardy, is excessive, especially in light of the fact that she has already given him the services of her valued servant Berte. Tesman's lines reveal him to be grateful for these sacrifices, but also complacent—his aunt has always sacrificed herself for his benefit, and he accepts as fact that she will never stop. In fact, she cannot stop, as she herself goes on to say. Helping her nephew is the sole source of "joy" in her life.

Through all of the above, the quote portrays Miss Tesman as the unwitting victim of the patriarchal social conventions that compel her to put all of her energy and resources toward the men in her life, even to her and her sister's detriment. At the same time, her generosity and loyalty to Tesman stand in sharp contrast to Hedda, who continues to make demands of Tesman despite his limited resources, and who purposefully humiliates Miss Tesman for her provincial tastes. 

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Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) Character Timeline in Hedda Gabler

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunt Julle) 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
...Tesmans’ villa. A portrait of General Gabler, a prominent military figure, hangs over a sofa. Miss Julianne Tesman , the old, benevolent aunt of the master of the house, enters, followed by Berte,... (full context)
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... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
...hardly room for them. She at last places them on the front of the piano. Miss Tesman , in whose household Berte served formerly, turns to the subject of Berte’s new mistress,... (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... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Miss Tesman wishes that her brother could look up from the grave and see what’s become of... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...suitcase and humming a tune, a cheerful expression on his face. He warmly greets his Aunt Julle (Miss Tesman) , saying he hopes she got enough sleep the night before—she had greeted him and... (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... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Tesman and Aunt Julle sit, Aunt Julle puts her parasol in a corner by the sofa, and the two... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Aunt Julle suddenly switches to another, more cheerful tone. Tesman is a married man now, and he... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Aunt Julle suppresses a smile and changes the subject: the trip must have been expensive, surely. Tesman... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...villa—so it was lucky it came up for sale. But it must be terribly expensive, Aunt Julle suggests. Tesman admits that it is expensive, despite the fact that Judge Brack got very... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Aunt Julle tells her nephew not to worry: with Judge Brack’s help, she has taken out a... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Moreover, says Aunt Julle , Tesman has proven himself worthy by overcoming all the people who stood in his... (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 that the maid has opened the verandah door, flooding the place... (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
Before she goes, Miss Tesman extracts from her skirt pocket a flat object wrapped in newspaper, a gift for Tesman.... (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 is appalled and drops his slippers to the floor: Hedda is pointing to his Aunt Julle ’s new hat. Tesman manages to say as much, and Aunt Julle, wounded, explains that... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Miss Tesman collects her parasol. In an attempt to smooth things over, Tesman asks his aunt to... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Act 2
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...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 hat incident from... (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
...asks Hedda about the hat incident, and Hedda reveals that she only pretended to think Aunt Julle ’s hat was the maid’s. These things just suddenly come over me, Hedda explains, and... (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 Julle of having wafted in. Judge Brack thinks the smell is a relic of Lady Falk.... (full context)
Act 3
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...enters with a letter, which Thea thinks concerns Lövborg—but it does not. It is from Aunt Julle and is addressed to Dr. Tesman. Berte suggests that she knew Lövborg would get drunk... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...Tesman nor Lövborg has returned. Hedda suggests that, 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,... (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 Rina, it says, is on the point of death. Tesman... (full context)
Act 4
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...Berte quickly enters and exits, and her eyes show signs of weeping. After a while Aunt Julle enters also, dressed in mourning. Hedda goes out to meet her. (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... (full context)
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...how else to take 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... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...Lövborg’s deaths. Hedda puts her head out between the curtains, says she is thinking of Aunt Julle and the rest of them too, and promises to be silent in the future. 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
...the two of them working together. He says that Thea will have to move into Aunt Julle ’s lodgings, where he can come up in the evenings to work instead. Form the... (full context)