Hedda inherited her pistols from her father, the great General Gabler, and her intimacy with them suggests the extent to which Hedda is so much more her father’s daughter than her husband’s wife. In this vein, we might say that the pistols are Hedda’s final material connection to her glorious aristocratic past—a lifestyle which is now unsustainable because of the state of Jörgen’s finances. The pistols mean much more than this to Hedda, however: they are weapons for warfare, and phallic artifacts from a man’s world which is inaccessible to women like Hedda in a patriarchal society. Hedda feels empowered and free when she holds these instruments of power and domination, as when she fires in Judge Brack’s direction when he comes through the garden. Moreover, Hedda herself is a loaded gun, so to speak, in waiting as long as she does to unleash her powers for destruction, and the pistols underscore this characterization. In the end, however, the pistols only empower Hedda in effecting her own self-destruction.
General Gabler’s Pistols Quotes in Hedda Gabler
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.
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?
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.
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.
Everything I touch seems destined to turn into something mean and farcical.
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.