The role of women during the era that Hedda Gabler takes place in is that they solely exist in relation with men. Thea Elvsted is most commonly referred to as Mrs. Elvsted because she is only known as a wife to Mr. Elvsted, and not as an individual. “ Oh I really don't know. I think he regards me simply as a useful property. And then it doesn't cost much to keep me. I am not expensive.” (pg 30) This quote spoken by Thea explains how women in this time were treated like property; they cleaned, cooked, bear and look after children, and tend to all the husband’s needs. In Thea leaving her husband, it shows a great deal of courage as she is refusing to be treated as an object to aid a man and becoming her own person. Even though she leaves her husband for Eilert Lovborg, she chooses to dedicate herself to helping him in his work as her own individual and not as just his woman. Furthermore, this era came with a specific set of ‘rules’ that a woman had to follow. Their only option is to search for a man of good social standing, and then be a devoted wife and take care of their husband’s needs. Thea comes to the realization that she can much more with her life. It took great courage for Thea to turn away from her husband and this typical life and become her own woman who is able to choose for herself. She enables herself to be independent, even while with Lovborg as he does see her as just a woman to cook and clean for him.“Oh, how happy I am, Hedda! For only think, he says I have inspired him too.” (pg. 65)
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