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An Introduction to Henrik Ibsen

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An Introduction to Henrik Ibsen

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An Introduction to Henrik Ibsen

  1. 1. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  2. 2. HenrikJohan Ibsen: TheFatherofModernDrama Henrik Johan Ibsen was a Norwegian dramatist born in 1826 and dying in 1906. During his life time, he was influential in the creation of a new type of realism in drama. He is considered to be the father of modern drama, as a result. He was also a leader in Scandinavian society, and his plays challenged the values of the middle class society that he lived in.
  3. 3. BiographicalInformationand Works • Born in 1828 in Skien,Norway • Hisfather, Knud Ibsen, one in a long line of sea captains, had been born in Skien in 1797 and had married Marichen Cornelia Martie Altenburg. • Hischildhood was not particularly happy • Unsociable child • Father's business had to be sold to meet the demands of hiscreditors
  4. 4. • He was a talented painter. • In1849, in Christiania, he wrote his first play, Catiline using blank verse. • 45 copies were sold. • In 1858 in Germany, Ibsen married Suzanna Thoreson. They had one son.
  5. 5. Works produced during this time • The Pretenders (1863) • Love's Comedy (1863) • Pillars of Society (1877) • Ghosts (1881) • Hedda Gabler (1890) published in Munich, Germany
  6. 6. “ ” Inyour power, all the same. Subject to your will andyour demands. Nolonger free! No! That’s a thought I’ll never endure! Never. -----Hedda Gabler, act 4
  7. 7. Themes: • SOCIETAL BREAKDOWN • FAITH AND AUTHENTICITY VERSUS SELF SEEKING AND SELF INDULGENCE • CLASS STRUGGLE AND ISSUES OF MORALITY DOMINATE HIS CHARACTERS • PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE OF CHARACTERS • SOCIAL CONCERNS SUCH AS VENEREAL DISEASE AND THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
  8. 8. • Ibsen also wrote poetry • His first edition of poems published in 1871 • He created a large amount of artwork over his lifetime in the form of watercolours, oils, cartoons, and sketches.
  9. 9. In 1901, Ibsen had a stroke, and for the next few years, he was bedridden until his death in 1906.
  10. 10. Burial: Cemetery of Our Saviour Oslo, Norway
  11. 11. Play by Henrik Ibsen
  12. 12. • Original language: Norwegian • Plot: An eccentric woman who, disappointed in her marriage, attempts to regain her influence over a former lover, Eilert, now under the good influence former school friend of Hedda. He loses the manuscript of a new work which is make him famous, and Hedda's husband finds it, but she destroys the work. When Eilert, in despair, thinks of suicide, she gives him a pistol with which he ends his life in a low resort, and Hedda kills herself.Genre:Drama • Setting:Jørgen Tesman's villa, Kristiania, Norway; 1890's
  13. 13. Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre and world drama. A 1902 production was a major sensation on Broadway starring Minnie Maddern Fiske, and following its initial limited run was revived with the actress the following year.
  14. 14. “Depending on the interpretation, Hedda may be portrayed as an idealistic heroine fighting society, a victim of circumstance, a prototypical feminist, or a manipulative villain." (Gosse and Archer 31)
  15. 15. Hedda's married name is Hedda Tesman; Gabler is her maiden name. On the subject of the title, Ibsen wrote: "My intention in giving it this name was to indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than her husband's wife."
  16. 16. George Tesman - The husband of Hedda, an academic Hedda Gabler - The heroine Miss Juliane Tesman (Aunty Juju) - Aunt of George Mrs. Thea Elvsted - Friend of Hedda and George, confidant of Ejlert Judge Brack - Friend of the Tesmans Ejlert Løvborg - George's academic rival whom Hedda previously loved Bertha - Servant to the Tesmans and to George as a child. Characters
  17. 17. Hedda Gabler - Heddais the daughter of the famous General Gabler; as a child she was used to luxury and high-class living. As the play begins, she is returning from her honeymoon with Jürgen Tesman, a scholar with good prospects but not as much money as Hedda is accustomed to. Her married name is Hedda Tesman. Hedda is an intelligent, unpredictable, and somewhat dishonest young woman who is not afraid to manipulate her husband and friends. (SparkNotes Editors). Characters
  18. 18. Characters Jürgen Tesman - Tesman is an amiable, intelligent young scholar. He tries very hard to please his young wife, Hedda, and often does not realize that she is manipulating him. In fact, he often seems foolish for his age, and when he annoys Hedda, the audience has reason to sympathize with her. Tesman is hoping for a professorship in history, and at the beginning of the play it seems that his one great rival, Ejlert Lövborg, a notorious alcoholic, no longer stands in Tesman's way. Tesman was raised by his Aunt Julle. (SparkNotes Editors).
  19. 19. Juliane Tesman Juliane Tesman, or Aunt Julle, is the aunt of Jürgen Tesman. After Tesman's parents died, Aunt Julle raised him. She is well- meaning, and she is constantly hinting that Tesman Hedda should have a baby. Aunt Julle tries to get along with Hedda, but the difference in their class backgrounds is painfully apparent. Aunt Julle lives with the ailing Aunt Rina, another aunt of Tesman's. (SparkNotes Editors). Characters
  20. 20. Characters Judge Brack - Brack is a judge of relatively inferior rank. He is a friend of both Tesman and Hedda, and he visits their house regularly. He has connections around the city, and is often the first to give Tesman information about alterations in the possibility of his professorship. He seems to enjoy meddling in other people's affairs. He is a worldly and cynical man. (SparkNotes Editors).
  21. 21. Characters Ejlert Lövborg - A genius, Ejlert Lövoborg is Tesman* biggest competitor in the academic world. After a series of scandals related to drinking, he was once a public outcast but has now returned to the city and has published a book to rave reviews. He also has another manuscript that is even more promising. Mrs. Elvsted helped him with both manuscripts. He once shared a close relationship with Hedda. (SparkNotes Editors).
  22. 22. Characters Mrs. Elvsted - Mrs. Elvsted is a meek but passionate woman. She and her husband hired Ejlert Lövborg as a tutor to their children, and Mrs. Elvsted grew attached to Ejlert, acting as his personal secretary and aiding him in his research and writing. When Ejlert leaves her estate to return to the city, Mrs. Elvsted comes to town and goes to Tesman for help, fearing Ejlert will revert to his alcoholism. Mrs. Elvsted went to school with Hedda and remembers being tormented by her. (SparkNotes Editors).
  23. 23. Characters • Berte - Berte is George and Hedda Tesman's servant. Formerly, she was the servant in Juliane Tesman's household. She tries very hard to please Hedda, her new mistress, but Hedda is quite dissatisfied with her. • Aunt Rina - Aunt Rina is dying at the start of the play. She never appears onstage. She helped Aunt Julle raise Tesman* (SparkNotes Editors).
  24. 24. Plot The action takes place in a villa in Kristiania (now Oslo). Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic General, has just returned from her honeymoon with Jørgen Tesman, an aspiring young academic, reliable but not brilliant, who has combined research with their honeymoon. It becomes clear in the course of the play that she has never loved him but has married him for reasons pertaining to the boring nature of her life, and it is suggested that she may be pregnant. The reappearance of Tesman's academic rival, Ejlert Løvborg, throws their lives into disarray. Løvborg, a writer, is also a recovered alcoholic who has wasted his talent until now. Thanks to a relationship with Hedda's old schoolmate, The Elvsted (who has left her husband for him), he shows signs of rehabilitation and has just completed a bestseller in the same field as Tesman. The critical success of his recently published work transforms Løvborg into a threat to Tesman, as Løvborg becomes a competitor for the university professorship Tesman had been counting on. The couple are financially overstretched and Tesman now tells Hedda that he will not be able to finance the regular entertaining or luxurious housekeeping that Hedda had been looking forward to. (SparkNotes Editors).
  25. 25. Plot Upon meeting Løvborg however, the couple discover that he has no intention of competing for the professorship, but rather has spent the last few years labouring with Mrs. Elvsted over what he considers to be his masterpiece, the "sequel" to his recently published work. Hedda, apparently jealous of Mrs. Elvsted's influence over Løvborg, hopes to come between them, and provokes Løvborg to get drunk and go to a party. Tesman returns home from the party and reveals that he found the manuscript of Løvborg's great work, which the latter has lost while drunk. When Hedda next sees Løvborg, he confesses to her, despairingly, that he has lost the manuscript. Instead of telling him that the manuscript has been found, Hedda encourages him to commit suicide, giving him a pistol. She then burns the manuscript. She tells her husband she has destroyed it to secure their future. (SparkNotes Editors).
  26. 26. Plot When the news comes that Løvborg has indeed killed himself, Tesman and Mrs. Elvsted are determined to try to reconstruct his book from what they already know. Hedda is shocked to discover, from the sinister Judge Brack, that Løvborg's death, in a brothel, was messy and probably accidental (this "ridiculous and vile" death contrasts the "beautiful and free" one that Hedda had imagined for him). Worse, Brack knows where the pistol came from. This means that he has power over her, which he will use to insinuate himself into the household (there is a strong implication that he will force Hedda into a sexual affair). Leaving the others, she goes into her smaller room and ends the play by shooting herself in the temple.
  27. 27. Critical interpretation Joseph Wood Krutch makes a connection between Hedda Gabler and Freud, whose first work on psychoanalysis was published almost a decade later. Hedda is one of the first fully developed neurotic heroines of literature. By that Krutch means that Hedda is neither logical nor insane in the old sense of being random and unaccountable. Her aims and her motives have a secret personal logic of their own. She gets what she wants, but what she wants isnot anything that the normal usually admit, publicly at least, to be desirable. One of the significant things that such a character implies isthe premise that there isa secret, sometimes unconscious, world of aims and methods — one might almost say a secret system of values — that isoften much more important thanthe rational one. Joan Templeton makes a connection between Hedda Gabler and Hjørdis from The Vikings at Helgeland, since the arms- bearing, horse-riding Hedda, married to a passive man she despises, indeed resembles the “eagle in a cage” that Hjørdis terms herself.
  28. 28.  It is fitting that the title of the play is Hedda's maiden name, Hedda Gabler, for the play is to a large extent about the formerly aristocratic Hedda's inability to adjust to the bourgeois life into which she has married.
  29. 29. The rest of the male characters are more or less in love with Hedda, perhaps because of her almost decadent sense of beauty. Brack wants to establish a private relationship with her, parallel to her relationship with Tesman, and Ejlert dearly hopes that she shares his "passion for life." She finds both of these ideas silly, openly rejecting Ejlert's notion and teasing Brack by saying that he wants to be "the cock of the walk." (SparkNotes Editors). Even Mrs. Elvsted feels intimidated by Hedda. Because of this popularity, she is the most powerful character. She toys with others because she can find no solace or entertainment in life. Indeed, Hedda's power is so far-reaching that her own self-destruction leads almost inevitably to the destruction of the other characters' lives. (SparkNotes Editors).

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