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Rhoades 1 Laura Rhoades Cason AP LiteratureComposition 15 November 1999 Restraining Factors in Hedda Gabler Henrik Ibsens Hedda Gabler is not truly indicative of his vast body of work the protagonist is female and the play is a character study Oddly enough though Hedda does not evolve or progress throughout the entirety of the work Rather she remains a cold and manipulative woman When this fact is realized the only task is discovering why Hedda continues as a flat character who is restrained from gaining the status of a hero Truthfully there are many variables that shape Heddas life Nonetheless two factors in particular stand outher father General Gabler and the repressive masculine society of the era Although Ibsen does not directly address these issues he succeeds in conveying their critical significance A common underlying theme in Ibsens work is the linking of death and music And as one might have deduced this premise is employed in Hedda Gabler Moreover the ever-present piano belonging to the late General Gabler symbolizes Heddas past freedom prior to marrying George Tesman as the Generals daughter A more obvious example of General Gablers influence over Hedda is the large portrait of him that dominates the inner room In fact as Ibsen initially describes the single set he momentarily focuses on the presence of the portrait of the handsome elderly man in a Generals uniform Ibsen Act 1 With this description the reader is made aware of the Rhoades 2 Generals presence even after his death Arguably the most significant influence the General has over Hedda is the fact that Hedda is unable to rid herself of her Hedda Gabler identity It is extremely odd to be known by a name that is in effect
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