Write critical note on the character of Eilert Loevbborg in “Hedda Gabler”.
Eilert Loevbborg is a major character in “Hedda Gabler”. Henrik Ibsen’s characterization is the hallmark of his artistic qualities. It may be a debate till date that whether Eilert Loevbborg is hero of the play or not yet it is sure; symbolically, he is an important character, which has very minutely been sketched by Henrik Ibsen in “Hedda Gabler”. Critics consider Eilert Loevbborg as Hernik Ibsen himself because the qualities, which are present in Eilert Loevbborg are also available in Henrik Ibsen. No doubt, theme of art and idealism is portrayed through this major character. We see Eilert Loevbborg a brave and intelligent character in the play totally different from every male character having no greed and dishonesty. He is intelligent because he has written many books. He is brave because he has given up on drinking and trying to improve himself. Though he is supported by Thea yet it is his effort to make himself better day by day. He is the character, which is totally in contrast to George Tesman in every means. The main connection, Eilert Loevbborg has in the play is with Hedda. He knows her since long and it Hedda due to which, he is addicted to drinking. He was her lover but when she broke up with him, he became demoralize and ruined his life. However, he soon controlled himself and with the help of his lover Thea, created his reputation in the vicinity. When he comes back to Hedda, she again tries to seduce him, which causes his final destruction. Hedda hands over her father’s pistol to him and suggests him beautiful death. At the end of play, Eilert Loevbborg dies in a mishap.
Relationship between Hedda and Eilert Loevbborg is very important to be discussed. It helps in the development of the plot. From the very begning we realize Hedda is not happy from her married. Thus, when Eilert Loevbborg appears on stage, we see Hedda flirting and seducing him. She wants qualities of Eilert Loevbborg in her husband, which is impossible as Eilert Loevbborg is an intelligent and romantic person and George Tesman cannot surpass him in this regard. Hedda herself admits that he is more romantic than her husband. Even she imagines Eilert Loevbborg as Dionysius; a Greek god of wine and the patron of tragedy. Hedda, often envisages Eilert Loevbborg with “vine leaves in his hair”. Hedda wants to fulfils her desires, which are not possible to accomplish through her husband. We know that Hedda is trapped in a nipper after her marriage and she cannot do anything to bring back her old days. She is a dreadful coward and fears scandals; therefore, she tries to live her life through Eilert Loevbborg. Hedda also knows about the relationship between Thea and Eilert Loevbborg but she while ignoring this fact tries her best to control him. Apparently, she is friend to Eilert Loevbborg, that too old, but her aim is to live vicariously through him because it is impossible for her to achieve her target while living with George Tesman. Here we see Eilert Loevbborg as a source of pleasure for Hedda. If the relationship of Hedda and Eilert Loevbborg is observed minutely, it reveals that Eilert Loevbborg is a moron and Hedda is using him. He is under her influence. He has gained a good name in the society but again ruining it by doing what Hedda wants him to do. He does not need to follow Hedda’s instructions. Perhaps, Hedda’s love is weakness of Eilert Loevbborg but he should have sense at least to the effect that Hedda is using him. The relationship between Hedda and Loevbborg is much strong so far as theme of affairs is concerned in this play. Nevertheless, Eilert Loevbborg is trapped in the net of Hedda.
Eilert Loevbborg is also presented in contrast to George Tesman by Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen, being a playwright, has an ability to put many things in juxtaposition to clear his thematic concept to the audience. The comparison between both of these major characters is very significant in this play. In fact, Henrik Ibsen has put both these male characters in contrast. On one hand, where Eilert Loevbborg is intelligent than on the other hand George Tesman is dense minded. George Tesman is dependent on her aunt but Eilert Loevbborg is financially stabled because of his own efforts. In the eyes of Hedda, Tesman is boring, whereas Eilert Loevbborg is romantic. This fact is disclosed in very start of the play, when she came back from her honeymoon. She is not happy at all even after the tour because of boring attitude of her husband. She always imagines Eilert Loevbborg with “vine leaves in his hair”. She considers him lovelier than her husband. Moreover, Eilert Loevbborg has a god gifted artistic quality. He is writing a book. He is symbolized as an artist by Henrik Ibsen, whereas George Tesman is a conventional husband type of person. In this way, both these characters are totally opposite to each other. Eilert Loevbborg’s personality is preferable with regard to characterization.
Another relevant aspect relating to the character of Eilert Loevbborg is his relationship with Thea. He is tutor to her step children. Thea supports Eilert Loevbborg and stabilizes him. After meeting with Thea, Eilert Loevbborg stopped drinking. Both these characters are in love with each other. If Hedda is symbol of destruction for Eilert Loevbborg then Thea is a symbol of preservation. Literary, Eilert Loevbborg first slips from the hands of Thea and then dies, which means that Hedda first snatched him from Thea and then annihilated him.
Eilert Loevbborg is major character of the play. In fact, the question is still unanswered that whether he is hero of the play or not. Indeed, Henrik Ibsen has very minutely drawn him and attached a lot of symbolism with this character. Themes of art, love, death and destruction are represented by the writer through Eilert Loevbborg. He also shares the qualities of Henrik Ibsen and most of the critics say that it is Henrik Ibsen himself in guise of Eilert Loevbborg in the play. Eilert Loevbborg is totally different to every male character of the play. Nonetheless, he is an unconventional male character, created by the writer with the theme of male dominated society.