Hedda Gabler

General Gabler’s Pistols Symbol Analysis

General Gabler’s Pistols Symbol Icon

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

The Hedda Gabler quotes below all refer to the symbol of General Gabler’s Pistols. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Hedda Gabler published in 2008.
Act 1 Quotes

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:

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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:

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Act 3 Quotes

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:

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Act 4 Quotes

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:

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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:

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est labor

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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:

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General Gabler’s Pistols Symbol Timeline in Hedda Gabler

The timeline below shows where the symbol General Gabler’s Pistols appears in Hedda Gabler. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...woman might be—but Thea only knows that the woman threatened to shoot Ejlert with a pistol when they parted. She thinks it must be a red-haired singer here in town (later... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Provincialism and Patriarchy Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...one thing to pass the time with. Tesman ecstatically asks what it is. General Gabler’s pistols, Hedda responds coldly, and exits. Tesman rushes to the doorway and, shouting, begs her not... (full context)
Act 2
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...dressed to receive visitors, stands alone in the room by the glass door, loading a pistol. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
...approaching the Tesmans’ villa from the back, through the garden. She greets him, raises her pistol, takes aim, and playfully announces that she is going to shoot him. Judge Brack shouts... (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
...become a reality. Lövborg reminds her that she threatened to shoot him with her father’s pistols then—she didn’t do so only because she was afraid of a scandal. “You’re a coward,”... (full context)
Act 3
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...around through the back way. Hedda reminds him that she conducts target practice with her pistols in the back, but Brack retorts, laughing, that nobody would shoot their own tame rooster.... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...come back—but before he does, she has a memento for him: one of General Gabler’s pistols. She tells him to use it, beautifully. Lövborg thanks her and exits. (full context)
Act 4
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...into something…farcical,” she says. Brack has one final piece of news: he says that the pistol Lövborg died by must have been stolen. (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...whole pile to the left of the inner room (this object is presumably Hedda’s remaining pistol). Tesman and Thea then sit and resume their work. (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 knows the pistol to be one of Hedda’s, which means... (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
No one will know who owns the pistol, Judge Brack goes on to say, if he himself holds his tongue. Hedda understands at... (full context)
Power and Influence Theme Icon
Modern Society v. the Individual Theme Icon
Beauty, Tragedy, and Farce Theme Icon
...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 in, followed by Thea. They... (full context)