Psychoanalysis Of The Play Hedda Gabler

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Henrik Ibsen’s revolves Hedda, who is the main character and her life tells the play. Ibsen wrote his play in the wake of modernism and presented several themes and different theoretical perspectives according to how a person reads or views the play. One of the concepts that one understands from the depiction of the characters and the protagonist is desire. Want pushes people to the limits of doing things that are unacceptable and goes contrary to the norms. The paper will focus on the play from the perspective of a psychoanalytic looking critically at the factors and characters presented in the play. From that, the focus will revolve around butler and her decision at the end of the play. Everyone has wants which he/she seeks to satisfy. Hedda grows in an elite family, and a society that impacts significantly in her life resulting in unsatisfaction of her life desire and as a result leads her into making the wrong decisions.

The paper’s close examination of desire brings in the Lacan’s theoretical piece. Lacan was a French well-known psychoanalytic who developed significant controversies through his theories. Ibsen’s play withholds and presents an excellent use of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a group of concepts that set out to study the unconscious mind and devise techniques healing the human brain. Sigmund Fluid came up with the term developing it from his school of thought and which evolves as the time passes and different scholars continue presenting their views about it. One of such scholars who made significant developments is Lacan who uses the technique of studying his subjects by leading them into recognizing their desires and uncover the truth about them.

Uncovering the truth about something provides essential information which a person can later use to develop valid and useful conclusions. Following that, Ibsen presents a paradox where the reader needs to reason out several factors so that he/she will uncover the truth about some of the happenings and most importantly Hedda’s decision at the end of the play. That involves looking at some of the other characters, their ways of life and what impact they had on each other. The play begins with the reader identifying that Hedda just married Tesman and the newly wedded couple went for a six-month-long honeymoon. However, Hedda is not happy with the marriage despite being pregnant with his child. That presents a dilemma that one has to uncover in the pursuit of truths the truth behind the action and the conscious of the mind that led the character into accepting the marriage.

Marriage intends to be an agreement between two people who set out to live together and support each other openly and wholeheartedly. However, factors such as the desire of one of the parties can lead to the failure of the courtship and later the fall of the marriage. People have different wishes informed by their early experiences or the character of a person. Following that, Ibsen wrote his play early in the colonial period when societies formed a critical part of people’s lives and which made decisions that impact on a person’s entire life. The choices made by the community solely emerged from the desire of the people forming it. However, as said earlier, people tend to have different wishes resulting from various. One of the events that the society had a take is marriage with which they selected and married couples based on societal desires and not the individual people’s wishes.

Courtships impacted by society led to the joining of couples who had different motives and perspectives about life. From Ibsen’s play, Hedda and her husband presented an excellent example where the individuals had varied perspectives about life and did not marry out of love or desire, but it was out of the society’s wish. That inflicted an action that did not comply with the conscious of the mind of the couple and brought in Lacan’s theory and psychoanalysis. In uncovering the truth, Hedda grew in wealthy family unlike her husband Lacan who was dull and highly inclined into his studies other than courting with his wife. The different life preferences among the couple resulted in each one of them trying to find solace and in some of the cases hurt each other unintentionally.

Further, into the psychoanalysis of the play, the seeking of solace from other outside factors resulted in a significant impact of the couple. Looking at Hedda, she sought out to start courting with Judge Brack citing that she doesn’t care about her husband anymore. Hedda acts in a high level of secrecy in a manner that her husband gets to know nothing about her decisions and her wife’s actions. Hedda has a purpose of satisfying the desires she had in an unacceptable way and with whatever it takes. That, in turn, affects her mind leading the character into other thoughts such as hurting Tesman and the people who engage with him in his studies such as Lovborg. In a similar occurrence, another character by the name Mrs. Elvsted declared that she loves Lovborg and cares little about her husband despite having his surname (Baitz, and Ibsen 24).

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The occurrence and acting of the two characters present a moment in which Lacan’s theory can apply in analyzing the cause of the actions and the truth behind them. From psychoanalysis, a desire can only articulate where there is speech. The two terms collaborate to bring out the sense and meaning of an action. Hedda and Mrs. Elvsted all act in secrecy, but they tell their secrets to each other. At the beginning of the play, Mrs. Elvsted declares to Hedda that she loves Lovborg and cares for his safety. In another act, Hedda tells Brack that she would like to court with him as she does not care for her husband anymore. The sole truth behind the two occurrences is that Hedda and Mrs. Elvsted both are acting in pursuit of satisfying their desires of living a life that each one of them aspires.

Following that, for a person to achieve or attain his/her desire, he has to take a risk. Lacan presents that as one of the fundamentals of psychoanalysis (Adrian n.p). People formulate wishes in mind. However, it requires one to act to achieve the attain the desire he/she has. From that, the two characters, Hedda and Mrs. Elvsted set out to fulfill their ambition of loving the people they prefer and not who the society points out for them. The two characters plan to do their things in secret such that their husbands or any other person will not know or suspect them. In another principle, Lacan states that for something that to be desirable, it must exist in another person’s unconscious self. To get something from a person, someone has to take a risk.

Risks always result in two outcomes, which are either benefit or loss. Desire wise, a person taking risk will have the emotional advantage, in an instance where it succeeds, and in case of failure, the mind of the person gets affected. Wishes exist in the consciousness of a person and which another person will never know what his/her neighbor desires most to possess. With that, fulfilling a wish results in the peace of mind while unfulfillment brings in trouble to a person. Regarding Ibsen’s play, Hedda had the desire to get in love with Brack but marrying Tesman made led to the unfulfillment of her wish. Following that, the character finds herself in a mood where she is unhappy with everything a situation that makes her act weirdly and unconsciously. Just after the honeymoon, Tesman goes out at a party where Lovborg who is his rival attends.

Lovborg is a drunkard but an excellent scholar. He drinks too much and gets out of control tearing his study manuscripts into pieces and scattering others. Tesman collects one of the tattered pieces and heads home where he delivers the news to his wife and Mrs. Elvsted that Lovborg got out of control displacing the manuscripts and tearing others. Hedda keeps the piece where Lovborg comes later and claims that he is a poor state of mind due to the loss of his studies and points out that he is planning suicide. Hedda says nothing but advice Lovborg to continue with his plans and gives a pistol with which Lovborg shoots himself. Brack delivers the news to Hedda that Lovborg is dead and succumbed a gun wound (Baitz, and Ibsen 71). The information devastates Hedda resulting in wild thoughts.

Brack identifies that the pistol that shot Lovborg belongs to Hedda which increases the devastation and Cheddar sets out to kill herself. The decision marks the end of the play and presents quality information regarding Lacan’s theoretical piece. Hedda’s suffers unfulfillment of her desire resulting in destructive thoughts. As a result, she hates everything that relates to her husband to the extent of wanting it dead a fact that leads to Lomborg’s death. The motive of putting everything into existence must be a method that the character devises to try and meet her desires and that acts as a risk. However, risks have consequences which can be devastating to the extent of death such as in the play.

To sum up, people formulate desires in their minds, but it requires action for the wishes to happen. However, efforts to fulfill a desire exist in the form of risks as one will have to manipulate another person’s mind so that he can meet his/her wish. The decision to take a risk presents two sides which can be either positive or negative. Positive outcomes result in a piece of mind, but negative one brings a disturbance. The later might lead a person to take more risks which can be life endangering such as Hedda does in the play. All of the above illustrates Lacan’s theory and how the concept connects with Ibsen’s play through the desires that the characters possess and the lessons learned from the decisions they make in the pursuit of fulling the wishes.

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Psychoanalysis Of The Play Hedda Gabler. (2021, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from
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