One of the criticisms dealt in Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen is feminist criticism “Feminist criticism is concerned with “…the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women” (Brizee, Allen, et al.). Feminism has proven to have a profound effect on the thinking of modern critics, and it has oppressed Hedda’s passion making her manipulative and hostile to herself and others.Hedda Gabler is a playwright that has been endlessly been performed, adapted, interpreted, and repeatedly translated since first published in 1890.
The play’s woman-centered narrative offers uniquely challenging opportunities for a female actor to portray a psychologically charged character. (cite this) Hedda Gabler was written in the late 19th century, it’s evident that Victorian values where exercise during this time: women were meant to be married; their husbands were supposed to care of them; women were supposed to care for the children and maintain the household and, fun was strictly prohibited especially for women (Loy, 161-2). These gender roles were a major part of the predicament Hedda faced. During this period majority of women were left feeling stifled and angry; they were meant to follow this way of typical thinking making this a important part of the setting in the play.
When Hedda is first introduced in the play, her character description indicates that her hair is, “a beautiful light brown, though not noticeably abundant” (Ibsen, 272). This suggest that Hedda’s character will not be shaped to what society would anticipate of her, and that she is a tenacious and independent woman. She is perceived as condictritory of how women in the 1980s were strived to be. Critics have found Hedda to be obnoxious and unpalatable; Shawn a critic says Hedda has “no ideals”: that she has “no heart, no courage, no conviction … she remains mean, envious, insolent, cruel” another critic Elizabeth hardwick, too condemns Hedda proclaiming her as “mean-spirited and petty in both large and small matters”(Low, 351).
Hedda is exceedingly jealous and likes to dominate power over others; she is extremely manipulative. Women during the 1980s should be modest, compliant and affectionate towards their family, but Hedda is the opposite of these characteristics. She is vile and is consistently planning ways to suffering and torment to others. In Ibsen’s play it proves, Hedda’s mean, and manipulative characteristics for example: “Hedda: True: there is. I want, for once in my life, to have power over a human being’s fate. Mrs.
Elvsted: But haven’t you got that? Hedda: I have not. And never have had “(324). This proves that Hedda’s behavior in the play is moved by lust after power and her desire to manipulate anyone, nonetheless she insist she never has had power over anyone but what about Ejlert Lövborg,Brack, or her husband. In Hedda Gabler the protagonist struggles to appease her aspirations and independent intuition within the confined role society allows her. Incapable of being innovative in her own passions, Hedda’s desire become toxic both to herself and others.