A spider becomes caught in its own web. This is an example of an attempted
manipulation that went awry. Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen, is a work about a
woman who manipulates the fates of others in order to fulfill her own desires.

The title character is a woman who has recently returned from a six month honeymoon
with her groom, Tesman, a man whom she does not love. She yearns for freedom,
but she feels as if she cannot leave her marriage. To occupy her time, she
manipulates the lives of everyone around her. Hedda kills herself after becoming
engorged in her own manipulations.

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Through the use of theme, setting, and then-current affairs, Ibsen produces a
work that uniquely portrays the sources of the motivations of this manipulative

Whether it be the burning of her former loves manuscript or supplying him
with the pistol to shoot himself, Heddas malevolence shows the ability of man
to have total disregard for the life of another. Hedda coldly manipulates the
lives of everyone around her. Through these manipulative actions, she ruins the
lives of all of her acquaintances. Because she is not happy in her marriage, she
attempts to forbid anyone else to live a content life. For example, after she
persuades Eljert Lvborg to consume alcohol, he ruins his reputation and loses
something that is most precious to him: the manuscript of a book that he had
been writing with Mrs. Elvsted. Although Hedda realizes the importance of this
manuscript to both Lvborg and Mrs. Elvsted, she chars it. Because Lvborg and
Mrs. Elvsted have put their souls into this manuscript, Hedda metaphorically
relates her action to burning their child. This cold thoughtlessness
demonstrates Heddas disregard for the life of a fellow human being. Heddas
ultimately lead to her demise. After giving Lvborg her pistol and
insinuating that he must kill himself, Heddas cruel intentions are finally
revealed. Judge Brack learns of her dealings and, thus, gains an opportunity to
take advantage of this situation. When Hedda realizes that she will always be at
the mercy of Judge Brack, she does the only thing she can do to escape this
situation; she shoots herself. Throughout her manipulations, Hedda maintains a
faade of innocence. Her truly malevolent nature, though, is displayed through
her actions that relate this theme of mans inhumanity to man.

One may be able to determine the cause for Heddas desire to manipulate
when the setting is examined. The whole of the play occurs indoors. Therefore,
Hedda is constantly submerged in a place in which she is unhappy. Because her
husband Tesman is constantly occupied with other happenings, Hedda is left in a
setting that lends itself to plans of manipulation. Heddas true dreams and
aspirations are those of freedom and independence.Her setting however, is an
antithesis to her proclivity. While Hedda maintains a desire to be free to do as
she pleases, her situation is one in which she is confined in her home. Because
she constantly remains in this monotonous setting, she occupies her time with
scheming against everyone around her. This is perhaps the principal cause for
Heddas manipulations.

Category: English