Monday, 16 May 2016
HEDDA GABLER BY HENRIK IBSEN
Yes, but have you noticed how strong and healthy she's looking? And how she's filled out since we went away?
Yes, but have you .......... we went away?
(i) Drama: Hedda Gabler
(ii) Dramatist: Henrik Ibsen
(i) Occurrence: Act I
(ii) Content: Hedda marries George but finds life with him to be dull. George spends most of his time in libraries doing research in history for a book. A friend of Hedda comes to visit her and tells her of Lovborg, an old friend of both women. Lovborg has also written a book on history. In the past, he has lived a life of degeneration. Now he has quit drinking and has devoted himself to serious work. Lovborg loses his manuscript at a party. When George returns home with Lovborg's manuscript, Hedda burns it. Lovborg comes to Hedda and confesses how he has failed in his life. Hedda talks him into committing suicide which he does. George begins to reconstruct Lovborg's manuscript with the help of Thea. In the end, Hedda commits suicide with her pistol.
In these lines Tesman wants to tell his aunt Juju that Hedda, his wife has become pregnant. Tesman here talks of Hedda as if she were the gun-dog who had been off her food for a whole but is now doing remarkably well and filling out nicely. The gun-dog image is one Ibsen uses in his notes, "His solicitude for her is the same as one gives to a thoroughbred horse or a valuable gun-dong." One can almost feel Hedda squirming as Tesman says this, but he is of course reminding her, in the nicest possible way, of the factual situation. She belongs to him as a piece of property, and, as the owner, he has the right to be proud of her. Fortunately, for him, Tesman is not aware of the wider implication of his remark about Hedda's "filling out". It is difficult enough to imagine Hedda and Tesman lying in bed together, let alone making love. It probably happened the night they spend at Gossensass and met all those 'amusing people'. There is just a hint of this possibility when Hedda and Tesman comment on their honeymoon photographs to Loevborg. In short, the thought of Hedda being pregnant and carrying Tesman's child is just Tesman's speculation.