Power and influence are prominent concepts in Hedda Gabler and the manner in which Ibsen illustrates particularly Hedda Gabler’s transition of power to Judge Brack is witty. This is apparent through the numerous symbols of which the main protagonist associates. A daring aspect regarding this novel, is during the commotion regarding the will of influence, Ibsen is challenging social norms, as such that he imposes a women being in control instead of her husband. He also questions the pressures of marriage during that time exposing the dissatisfaction of many women after marrying. This may have been influenced by his wife whom he divorced which was frowned upon and scandalous during the 19th century.
Judge Brack Hedda interaction
In Hedda Gabler Ibsen utilises objects and diction to portray Hedda and Brack’s lust for power and dominance over one another. It is evident that “General Gabler’s pistols” are the first instance of Hedda, veritably, exhibiting her control. Thus a disturbance to Brack during one of their initial interaction that challenges his authority, “she fires…, Oh dear did I hit you”. Hedda utterly disregards Brack which is a potent indication that Hedda is in control and doesn’t take him seriously. Judge Brack is obviously startled and defiantly stands up to grasp control of the pistols. The pistol interaction becomes the initial moment that we begin to envision Hedda’s power transition to Brack. The shift becomes more prevalent throughout the play. Although there is an argument concerning her power in the first instance.
During the whole play it is obvious that Hedda is dissatisfied with her life but primarily with the societal pressures and norms shown through “I want for once in my life to have power to mould a human destiny.” The seriousness of this quotation is unusually erratic coming from the main protagonist, additionally there is no indication that she is not being sincere. Being a women at the time, Mrs Tesman has almost no influence with regards to moulding her own path, social life and work. Her continuous behaviour in the posh society is “acceptable’ behaviour : backing her partner rather than seeking a career for herself and staying loyal to her marriage even though she is dissatisfied with her current situation. Alas it is no wonder when she proceeds to meddle with other peoples lives to cure her boredom.
Hedda destroying the manuscript
As the play progresses it is apparent that Hedda commences to loose all her morals possibly in a desperate attempt to retain her dominance and this is demonstrated quite explicitly through the destruction of Lövborg’s manuscript.
A plot changing moment which procures itself when Hedda destroys the manuscript,“I am burning, I am burning your child.” This outburst demonstrates, Ibsen is illustrating Hedda’s intricateness. In prior acts, the main protagonist portrays a constrained and Unstimulated character. Hedda’s endeavour to cause quarrels between Eilert Lövborg and Mrs Elvested are a form of entertainment to pass the time.In this instance however Hedda decides to burn the manuscript as a way of revenge towards Elvsted, inferring that jealousy overwhelms her reasoning as well. This is perhaps an indication that in reality Hedda does not truly desire power but rather is bored.
Hedda telling Lövborg to commit suicide
Hedda’s veritable loss of morals is underpinned when she states“ Oh, what curse is it that makes everything I touch turn ludicrous and mean?” This quotation encompasses Hedda’s prior statements concerning Eilert’s supposed suicide. Hedda’s thoughts previously illustrate the aspiration that Eilert will make a ‘beautiful’ death which is oxymoronic in itself, although Judge Brack later discloses that Löevborg final moments were ugly and inglorious. Concerned with appearances, Hedda values manner over human life; therefore, the way of Löevborg’s death matters more than the decease itself. Furthermore Hedda’s potency is exemplified once more through her manipulative ability to make Eilert commit suicide although Brack reinstates quite sadistically the manner in which he failed to have a beautiful death.
Lastly, in the closing scene of the novel Brack states “People say such things—but they don’t do them.” This exchange emerges as an ironic foreshadowing of the Act’s falling action; As Hedda does obviously end it all. Although he may be her equal when it comes to deviousness, Judge Brack gravely underestimates Hedda Gabler in his final, confidential chat with her. Just before this line is uttered, Hedda insists she would rather die than live as a ‘slave’ to the judge’s whims—a bold claim, to be sure, but not entirely inconsistent with Hedda’s fierce, pistol-wielding persona. Judge Brack essentially calls her bluff here, insisting that she wouldn’t dare to kill herself and will therefore have to get used to his frequent, unwanted visits.
The theme of power struggle is thus prevalent in Hedda Gabler and explored in such a manner that Hedda is illustrated to persistently be searching for novice ways of asserting her power although as demonstrated previously Brack is consistently in control.