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To begin with, it is essential to highlight that the reader knows very little about upbringing and childhood of Ibsen’s heroine. Ibsen does not describe the genesis of Hedda Gabler’s character, her views on life and her beliefs straightly and distinctly. Therefore, the reader has to trace them through her behavior and conflicts with Tesman, Thea Elverst, Lovborg and Judge Brack. In addition, her inner conflicts are important and reveal the protest against limitations of women’ possibilities and generally accepted social norms. Hence the events and conflicts of the play depict how a female protagonist, who wants to become a master of her fate, revolted against the commonness.
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Regarding the inner conflict of Hedda, the reader can see that her desires and abilities do not coincide; her actions challenge her beliefs. Such inner state of Hedda Gabler defines the further conflicts with the society and such characters as Hedda’s husband Jurgen Tesman, Lovborg, Thea, Bracks. It becomes evident that the protagonist despises her marriage, and her husband. While Tesman is more interested in his career and even during their honeymoon behaves as if it is “a sort of academic trip”, his wife is more worried about their material welfare rather than loving relations (Ibsen 172). Hedda obviously feels resentment and disappointment about her husband because of his ignorance of her feelings and needs. They “just haven’t a thought in common” (Ibsen 188). In contrast to Thea Elvert, who is an example of “feminine devotion and beauty” and dreams to become a mother, Hedda pursues her rebellion and kills her unborn child (Ibsen 246). Such depiction of two women highlights how “unfeminine” Hedda was. Moreover, Hedda becomes the one, who stands between Mrs Elvert and Lovburg. Although both women have feelings for him, the author shows how differently they are manifested. Regarding another character, “that disgusting Judge” Bracks has much in common with the main heroine (Ibsen 257). However, her possible affection for him turns into hate because of his attempts to limit her freedom by blackmailing her.
To sum it up, although the reader knows very little about the main heroine’s family and childhood, the fact that Ibsen has used the father’s name Gabler with her name instead of her husband’s one highlights that all the views and beliefs of Hedda are to be the result of her noble origin and her upbringing, which is quite different from the representatives of the middle class. This fact makes readers feel that the behavior of the protagonist is not her fault and hence she cannot be considered as a negative hero. Her expectations were to get her individual freedom, rebel against the norms. Her relations with men, attitude towards other women, and reaction to the pregnancy show her view of the role of a woman, which is very similar to the role of a man.
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