hedda gabler - Naina Vohra The Reading of Drama 24...

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Naina Vohra The Reading of Drama 24 September 2007 Ibsen’s Experiments in Geometry The triangle is perhaps the most complex shape, socially speaking. It is interesting that human beings seem to have conflicting needs: the need to form triangular relationships, and the need to avoid such relationships at all costs. These deceptively simple shapes, when found in social scenarios, are often fraught with chaos, politics, and masterful mind games. Did someone mention mind games? Hedda Gabler, the title character of Ibsen’s play, controls and manipulates her world through the development and destruction of various triangular relationships consisting of her “friends” and family. Let us examine some of the triangles she creates. Hedda is by no means the only guilty party as far as the creation of triangles is concerned. Ibsen himself uses these triangles, so conveniently created by his leading lady, in order to aid the reader in understanding the plot better, but also to protect himself from falling into the bear-trap of a Chekhovian narrative. In doing so, he lets his reader develop some idea of the events that will unfold through the course of the play, and how the relationships will change, without actually giving away any information that would allow the reader to successfully predict the ending. The most explicit triangle introduced into Hedda’s life consists of herself, her husband Tesman, and the Judge Brack, an old friend of Hedda’s. It is unclear whether or not this triangle is adulterous in nature, but, whatever the case may be, in the beginning at least, the idea appeals greatly to our leading lady, although she does reject Brack’s offer:
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“BRACK: A sort of…triangle of availability. You can’t imagine how satisfying that could be all around. HEDDA: Yes. Well there were many, many times on this trip I just longed for some third person to talk with in those train compartments (33).” This is the first, and only, explicit reference made to triangles, but it is Ibsen’s way of waving a red flag in our faces and encouraging us to be on the lookout for more of those tricky triads. A physical manifestation of these three-sided wonders is found in the setting of
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This essay was uploaded on 04/05/2008 for the course ENGL 2720 taught by Professor Davis,stuart during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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hedda gabler - Naina Vohra The Reading of Drama 24...

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