Psychological Problems of Hedda Gabler

Psychological Problems of Hedda Gabler

The play “Hedda Gabler” has been written with psychological perspectives. Henrik Ibsen has presented the psyche of each character. Hedda’s character is prominent in this regard. She has some inner problems, which lead her towards destruction. Psychologically, she is a confused and frustrated character. She is spending life with those persons who are entirely different from her. She is the daughter of a general, therefore, wants fulfillment of every desire but fears scandals. She is mentally sick. She wants her influence on every mind. She wants to control characters. She is not a conventional woman, therefore, does not know the art of adjustments. It is necessary to know the reason behind her mental illness; before her marriage she was living a happy life but after it, drift in her behavior can be witnessed. From very starting of the play, we feel that she is not happy with her marriage. Her husband’s nature is dull and unromantic. He is also responsible for her mental sickness. Hedda seems the unhappiest woman on the earth. If Hedda restarts her affair with Loevborg then her husband is also responsible for it. Nevertheless, it is true that that there are some psychological problems in Hedda’s characters.

First problem of Hedda Gabler is that she fears from scandals. She knows that she has a good respect in the society, which can be ruined by a single unethical action. Instead of enjoying her life, she fears from people. Before taking a decision, she think about its consequences; especially “What people will say”. She was in love with Loevborg but could not marry him because she wanted to maintain her respect in the vicinity. She thinks more about people and less about herself. She thinks more and acts less.  She wants to maintain her fame. She always remains disturbed. It is, therefore, she commit suicide. She cannot face questions of people. She cannot live life of disgust. She knows that people will defame him after knowing that Hedda is responsible for Loevborg’s death. She cannot answer people. Her over-thinking is responsible for her annihilation. Her mind does not let her live a moment of peace. There is no denial the fact that fear has overpowered her completely. Thus, fear of scandals is her greatest enemy.

Hedda’s control can be witnessed on every major character of the play. George Tesman is her husband but we see influence of Hedda on him. He is guided by Hedda in every fatal decision. Hedda always finds an opportunity to control him. It is also a major psychological problem of Hedda that she wants to gain more and more power while influencing other persons. She thinks that after taking control of every person, she may fulfill her desires. Thus, she starts affair with Loevborg in order to control him. Hedda asks him to do something and he does it in less than a minute without thinking about its consequences. She does not love Loevborg; instead controls him. She wants to fill his mind with her own wishes in order to fulfill them. Similarly, she wants control on Thea Elvsted. She uses her after getting control of her mind. She has no love for anyone not even for her lover or for her husband. She is hungry for power, therefore, wants more and more influence. It is also a psychological problem of Hedda which leads her towards destruction.

Gaining control of minds is not only the problem of Hedda. She first influences a person and subsequently destroys him. When she finds that Loevborg is under his control, she suggests him a beautiful death. She tries to destroy him. She does the same not only with Loevborg but also with her husband. She knows that she has influence on her husband, therefore, she disrespects him. She also insults Mrs. Tesman. It is also major psychic problem in her character that she first influences a person and then she tries her best to completely devastate him.

Hedda does not give up on her desires, therefore, she wants to fulfill them at every cost. It is also another psychological problem of her character. She tries to live life through Loevborg. She does not consider difference between single life and married life. Hence, even after marriage in a middle class family, she wants the luxuries of life at every cost. Thus, it is also another psychological problem of Hedda Gabler.

However, there is something, which can be said in favour of Hedda. She is victim of circumstances. In order to maintain respect of Gabler family, she denies the proposal of Loevborg and marries Tesman. She belongs to an elite class family; her life, before marriage, was peaceful; she had enjoyed every comfort of life. Thus, she is not perfect for middle class Tesman family. She cannot fit in it. She is not a traditional woman. She has not learnt the word tradition in her whole life. Thus, society is also responsible for her psychological problems. It is not true to say that she is a coward woman because she fears from scandals. She does it in order to maintain her respect in the society.

Crux of the above discussion is that Hedda is a confused character. She is mentally disturbed. Henrik Ibsen has shown the relationship between individual and society through mental problems of Hedda Gabler. Apparently, Hedda seems good to Tesman and Judge Brack but they cannot find her inner problems. Mentally, she is living a miserable life. Every moment she thinks to commit suicide. Her psyche does not allow her to live in this male dominated society. She always thinks that she is in a prison, therefore, she wants liberation. At last but not the least, although there are some psychological problems in Hedda yet she alone is not responsible for them; there is also a part of society in her mental sickness.

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