November 15, 2010
live theater, Ibsen sought to instead rely on complex characters and controversy to keep his
Considering all of this, readers are able to take a look at one of the most
prominent and versatile writers in theater history.
Ibsen’s plays are full of issues that challenge the practices of society and raise many
One of the most prevalent social themes throughout
well as at the time at which it was written, is the role of women and society.
During the late 19
century women’s roles in society consisted mainly of household chores and raising children.
Women were expected to obey their husbands or the man of the house, and follow their
However, throughout this play Ibsen develops Hedda as a masculine woman that
clashes not only with this stereotype, but also defies many other traditional roles in society.
example, Hedda was raised by her wealthy father, a well respected general, and enjoys guns and
Furthermore, Hedda seems to be dreading the birth of her child, repeatedly
displays little interest in the future of her marriage, and is focused primarily on obtaining social
prominence. One can speculate that the absence of Hedda’s mother (her mother is seldom
mentioned throughout the play) is a possible cause for her masculinity, and that Hedda was
raised more as the optimal son of her well respected father.
This speculation also explains
Hedda’s motivation to be a part of a primary social circle and have costly material possessions,
like those of Judge Brack.
As a result, Hedda possesses the mindset to be a prominent, respected
male citizen but lacks the feminine values needed to be an effective wife and mother, especially
during the 19
As unique as the character Hedda is, she is in many ways very similar to Henrik Ibsen
Born in 1828 in Skien, Norway, Ibsen was brought up in a well off and historically
prominent Norwegian family very similar to Hedda’s.
At the early age of 7, Ibsen’s family fell