Monday, October 27, 2008

Shifting Gears

As Hedda Gabler draws to a close, Lysistrata is just beginning. I've began reading it, and something just seemed off. At first, I wasn't sure exactly what it was, but I think I've settled on what I think the problem is. Its not the story, its the translator. I understand that anything written around 400 bc is never going to appear in modern times exactly as it was written, and i understand that Douglass Parker even made a note in the introduction that he modernized some of it to make it more appealing, blah blah blah. Maybe it's because my whole life I've learned that all the ancient Greeks were basically geniuses, but the way he represents Lampito and the Spartans as basically hillybillies, it's hard for me to put myself into the mindset of the Athenians.

Thoughts On Hedda Gabler

The title that is, not the character.


I thought that it was curious that Ibsen would use Hedda's maiden name for the title. By using her maiden name, Ibsen plants the idea that Hedda isn't really Tesman's girl even before the first page is turned. We don't go into the play expecting some woman that fits into some type of stereotypical model, but a woman that belongs to no one, and ultimately that is what we get. When Brack thinks he has her, she goes and shoots herself to prove him wrong.

In General

In general, I thought that the play was quite interesting. Often times when reading literature during class, I find it somewhat unimpressive. I think that this is due to the fact that to me alot of the ideas being shot around around class are relatively absurd. Maybe the paperclip that he used was supposed to represent how he's bringing things together. Is it possible that he just wanted something to hold his papers together? Anyways, back on point, I found most of the ideas regarding methaphors and motifs and such, on the whole, relatively credible. Was there some BS going around, yeah probably, but when isn't there?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As Omar Once Said...

Eh yo, lesson here, Bey, you come at the king, you best not miss.

-Omar, The Wire, Season One

Well, I thought that this quote was a fairly accurate summary of Judge Brack's and Hedda's final relationship. You have Hedda attempting to gain some type of power in her life, and Judge Brack attempting to not only remain in control, but gain more power. In the end, Judge Brack shows Hedda that he has leverage over her, and drives her to commit suicide. This act of suicide however, gives Hedda control of one thing that Judge Brack could never control, her life. Thus, the only way for her to show she had more power than the judge was to kill herself. Personally, I don't think she missed.


Well, at first I wasn't sure about Tesman. He didn't seem all that bright to begin with, and then turned into a much worse person than I thought he could be. However, after careful thought I've come to a conclusion.


I think that ultimately George was basically an average guy. He began to slip up in Act III when he held on to Lovborg's manuscript, but I believe that he honestly had the intention of returning it to Lovborg. He even said, "but as soon as I've had a little rest - and given poor Eilert time to sleep it off, then I've got to take it back to him."(278) Should he have given it back to Lovborg right when he found it, yeah probably, but under the circumstances, its understandable. Lovborg was potentially going to get his job, and if most people (granted, not all) were honest with themselves, they may have held onto it as well until they got the job.

Act II, cont.

As you should know, more than one important thing happened in Act Two. For example, Hedda continues showing her manipulative side, by coercing Eilert Lovborg to go to Judge Brack's stag party. I think that this is when Hedda really shows her manipulative side for the first time. Sure she was manipulative in Act I when she was talking to Thea Elvsted, and wanted information about Lovborg, but maybe shes just s gossip.
We know that Hedda is extremely bored with her life with George, but this manipulation stems from a deeper well than her just being a spoiled rich girl with nothing else to do, this manifests from Hedda lack of control in her life. She even says "for once in my life, I want to have power over a human being."(272) I believe that Hedda's urge for control stems from the era that she was from. Men, even George Tesman, whom Hedda appears to easily control, has more power in society than her. This fosters a resentment in Hedda, and a need to exercise control over others.

Act II

One important part of Act Two that I would like to explore is Hedda's shooting at Judge Brack.

Hedda shooting at Brack begins to develop a couple of important ideas in Hedda Gabler. First, it starts getting us thinking about Hedda's pistols, and what they represent in the play. Under the assumption that Hedda's pistols represent power, the small scene that plays out on page 248 is extremely important. Hedda shoots at Brack, attempting to gain power for herself. Unfortunately for her, Brack was able to delicately remove some of Hedda's power by "gently taking the pistol out of her hand." (248)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Devious (dee-vee-uhs)


1. not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to accquire wealth

Probably my favorite character of the play. Brack continually moves in an somewhat underhanded manner to gain more power. He is always trying to be "the one cock of the walk" (303). He starts his bid for power pretty early, when he returns to the Tesman residence, by "gently taking the pistol out of her hand" (248), symbolically taking the power out of Hedda's hands.
Photo: Steven Siewert
His quest for power continues when he attempts to get Lovborg to come to his stag party, but fails when Lovborg declines to attend. Here he gets a bit of good luck through Hedda, because she drives Lovborg back to the sauce, and ultimately to the party that night. Brack completes his power struggle when he finds out through a police man that presumably owes him a favor, that Eilert was shot with one of Hedda's pistols. This gives Brack power over Hedda, whom I believe was who he wanted control of the most.

On a side note, I wonder if we would be pronouncing Brack with a long A sound or a short A sound if it weren't an election year.