What do you think of the characters in the play Hedda Gabler? Many people, for example, think Hedda is unethical, spoiled, and rude. Even so, Henrik Ibsen manages to create sympathy for her.

For this discussion, pick one of the major characters in Hedda Gabler and post a response to the following:

What do you like or dislike about this character?
What makes  this character interesting to you?
Select an interaction this character has with another character in the play. What does this interaction reveal about the character?

As a follow-up, post a question or comment about one of your classmates' postings. Do you agree or disagree with the interpretation of the character your classmate selected?

Celeste Yahr
10/16/2012 05:57:44 pm

George Tesman
I like the fact that Tesman is relatable. He very strongly reminds me of one of my dear friends who is extremely book smart and just crazy good with school. However she is not always the smartest when it comes to common sense. Another thing that I like and also makes him interesting is that he seems to like he wants to see the best in everyone and also make it so that people aren't mad at him or the people around this. You can see these in more than one place but for one when Hedda, Miss Tesman and Tesman are all there in the morning. Hedda has just insulted Miss Tesman by saying that he bonnet was the maids. Tesman says "A new bonnet and a new parasol! Only think, Hedda!"(pg9 about half down) He is trying to smooth it over with his aunt to make her feel better but also with Hedda by trying to impress her. The interaction between him and his aunt, Miss Tesman, who raised him, is the one I chose. He was an orphan and she was his mother and father figure. This reveals that he has worked for his status. His status is not high but he has worked very hard to get to the point of having a high class like Hedda marry him. It also reveals that he loves Miss Tesman and his other aunt. He cares very much about both of them. It just shows how much he cares in general.

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Kelti Lorence
10/17/2012 05:02:29 am

I agree! Tesman has those same types of characteristics, which helped me understand his ways and why he was the way he was. He seems to be the peacemaker in the story, and the reader sympathizes more with him because of this.

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Mackenzie
10/18/2012 06:46:17 am

Celeste I definitely agree with your opinions on Tesman. Because he is only book smart he adds a sense of humor to the story! He is also very much the peaceful one in the story too.

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Emily
10/17/2012 02:39:29 am

Mrs. Elvsted
I like that Mrs. Elvsted is so determined to find the man she loves and is willing to forgive Hedda for all the things she did to her in school. What makes her interesting to me is that she is so attached to Lovborg left her life and her husband to go help him with his drinking problem even though he might not need the help . I also find it interesting that she clearly remembers being tormented by Hedda and just goes with it when Hedda asks her to be friends. It makes me wonder if she really believes Hedda or just wants to pretend it didn't happen. An interaction that shows what Mrs. Elvsted's character is like is when she tells Hedda all of her secrets and believes her when she says she won't tell. It shows she's trusting and innocent.

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Kendall
10/17/2012 05:10:03 pm

Emily i 100% agree with your ideas about Mrs. Elvsted. I think she is just very innocent and doesn't have many friends so therefore is welcoming to Hedda's suggestion to being friends, dismissing all their past relationships.

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Mary Sine
10/17/2012 05:15:29 am

George Tesman
I like how normal Tesman is in the play. He's a very ordinary man, who tries to please everyone and to see the good in people. He's very optimistic and happy, but he is also oblivious to what is going on sometimes. For instance in the second act, when Hedda and Judge Brack are talking and Tesman comes home, they insult him or tease him with their inside joke of "specialist" and "special subjects," and he is completely oblivious to it, or chooses to ignore it. Tesman's interaction with Hedda and his aunt, Miss Tesman, in the first act reveals certain aspects of his character. He tries to please both of them, when Hedda insults his aunt when talking about the bonnet. He is also in some ways childish and innocent, you can see this when his aunt gives him his slippers, before she leaves. Tesman is an interesting character, because he seems to be oblivious and maybe even considered stupid by some characters, but maybe he is not so oblivious as the audience is led to believe. He is a very educated man, even if he doesn't have a job currently, and he did have to work hard to get this high, because he is an orphan and was raised by his aunts, and they never had an abundance of money. He may seem engrossed by his research and interests, but maybe he is really not as oblivious as Hedda seems to think he is.

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Carley
10/17/2012 05:34:19 am

I like how you describe him as simply normal. You make a very good point in your last sentence about how George might not be as oblivious as everyone thinks. That idea brings a whole new light onto Tesman's character and even the whole story.

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Hannah H.
10/17/2012 04:44:56 pm

This was very insightful! I agree with your feelings toward Mr. Tesman and I like your idea that the audience is led to believe that he is oblibious when in reality he knows what is going on. Im interested in seeing how it turns out!

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Kelti
10/17/2012 05:17:28 am

Berta
Though just a maid, Berta did not hold her position against the family. She loved her boss, Miss Tesman, and was heartbroken to part with her after so many years. She shows honest care for people and their needs in the comment "And with only that new girl too! She'll never learn to take proper care of an invalid." This portrays an unspoken characteristic of gentle yet hardworking willingness.
Berta's job alone makes her interesting. Typically maids have many stories, coming from hard childhoods or odd previous jobs. Working for any family, they are there in times of joy and hardship, compiling many memories from each family member or adventure.
Though she seems very sweet and knows how to put up with a lot, her conversation with Miss Tesman about her new boss shows a side of Berta not previewed before. Her statement "I'm so mortally afraid I shan't be able to suit the new mistress. Most like she'll be terrible grand in her ways" leads the reader to believe she is not very brave or doesn't like being pushed out of what has become her comfort zone. She seems very flexible, but maybe not enough to be willing to take on any task. The fear could be from being used to the lower class standing she had been with for so many years, and unaccustomed to working with the upper class people.

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10/17/2012 09:38:12 am

I liked that you showed Berta from several different aspects, and that you took note of her past, present, and future. I think that you were right to interpret her as gentle and kind, as well as willing to serve. You really shed light on Berta's character.

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Carley
10/17/2012 05:30:25 am

Aunt Julia (Miss Tesman)
I like Aunt Julia because she seems to be such a sweet person. Even though George is not her biological son, she raised and cared for him like he was. She even mortgaged her annuity so they could put a down payment on the house that George and Hedda wanted. She interests me because even though George still deeply respects and adores her as his mother figure, Julia seems willing to be controlled by Hedda, but still wants to hold some standing. This dynamic between the two of them also makes for interesting interaction. For instance, Aunt Julia bought a new bonnet JUST to impress Hedda. However, when Hedda assumed the "old bonnet" was Berta's, Aunt Julia makes a point of letting Hedda know that her bonnet is brand new and very nice. But when she finds her parasol that goes with the bonnet, she mutters that it is "not Berta's",which shows she is not completely willing to overlook Hedda's rudeness.

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Celeste Yahr
10/17/2012 05:39:53 am

Carley, I agree with you. I hadn't really thought about the fact that she wouldn't put up with Hedda being mean but your insight helped me see that. Also I think it is really important that she raised George like her own son. Good job I think you really got it.

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Jonathon Delaquito
10/18/2012 12:54:34 am

I totally agree with this description of Aunt Julia. I like how you brought the bonnet scene into this.

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Sammy Farmer
10/18/2012 05:54:41 am

I love your analysis of Aunt Julia! She seems like that aunt that everyone needs. I find myself almost relating to George because I have an Uncle that treats me like his own. She is such a wonderful lady and her love for her nephew seems unconditional

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10/17/2012 09:31:33 am

Judge Brack
Brack is an intriguing character. Thus far, he seems to be the only character that really relates to Hedda, and Hedda to him. I am not entirely sure whether I like or dislike him, as his character is very shadowed, and his motives are unclear.
Brack is interesting in the fact that he draws a very different reaction from Hedda as compared to the other characters. At the beginning of Act 2, for instance, he holds a fairly long conversation with Hedda that suggests that they have spoken before and, in fact, enjoy each other's company. Hedda seems very relaxed in his presence: she leans back on the sofa, speaks often in a jesting or confiding tone, and expresses what seem to be her true feelings for her husband. When Tesman arrives later in the act, both Hedda and Brack make references to their earlier conversation, such as by calling Tesman a "specialist" and the use of the word "everlasting" to describe Tesman's aunts. This also suggests a familiarity.
The exchange between Brack and Hedda, while revealing something about Hedda, also reveals a little about Brack's character as well. The reader can infer, for instance, that Brack has a fairly high social status. This is shown when Hedda comments, in regards to her wedding tour, that she had "to go six whole months without meeting a soul that knew anything of our circle." By saying "our circle," Hedda implies that Brack is included in the social circle that she would normally associate with. The reader can also learn that Brack has some history with Hedda, as Brack himself makes references to "confidential talk[s]" and says at one point in regards to Hedda: "Not a day has passed but I have wished you were home again." This last line also shows that Brack, at least in some way, cares about Hedda. This fact is emphasized as Brack begins to suggest becoming part of a "triangle" made up of Hedda, himself, and Tesman. Brack calls it a "triangular friendship." Later in the conversation, when Hedda begins to use a train as a metaphor for her "wedding journey," Brack begins to suggest that he could "jump in and join the couple." Brack's interest in Hedda is clear, although what he hopes to gain from joining a "triangular friendship" and "making [him]self useful," as he says in an earlier line, is not as easy to distinguish.

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Megan Wall
10/17/2012 09:48:54 am

First of all, this is beautifully written! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on not only Judge Brack, but also the relationship he shares with Hedda. I wonder if the description of "circle" has any significant meaning? It was used a few different times in their conversation, as was the word "triangle," which has a pretty obbvious meaning. Great job, Hannah!

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Megan Wall
10/17/2012 10:22:02 am

Mr. Lovborg.

Mr. Lovborg, the man who is held as a very important, yet mysterious character in Act I, interests me with his layers of personality. In Act II, one layer of his personality that I enjoy is when he is open with Hedda. He seems very concerned with what she thinks, or thought, of him. I liked watching this man, who seems to have a lot of influence, not stay prideful, but actually come close to being vulnerable with Hedda. However, I dislike his manipulation, lies, and fits of anger.

I find Mr. Lovborg interesting for just the reason listed above, his complicatedness. Ibsen keeps this character complex well into Act II by giving him the charactertistics of being smart, at the same time he is concerned with Hedda's feelings for him, yet he has a parallel charcater to Hedda in the sense that he manipulates Mrs. Elvstad, & through this all, he allows his anger, like alcoholism, control him.

The way that Lovberg questions Hedda of her love for him is salted with inward bitterness and hurt. He also asks Hedda, "what was the power you held over me to get me to tell you all those things?" This is an ironic moment in Act II because Lovberg, who is manipulating Mrs. Elvsted, and who is suppose to be a strong-willed man, feels powerless against Hedda. Between the exchange of contemplating whether Hedda had romantic feelings toward him, and feeling inferior to Hedda's "power" over him it is revealed that he is not as strong as one may believe.

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Brady
10/17/2012 04:12:35 pm

I find him interesting as well. His earlier life is not described very much but there are hints to it. He has obviously had contact with the other characters but the nature of these aren't really clear.

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Trevor
10/17/2012 06:09:19 pm

I like how you picked a character that not many other people will do. It will be interesting to see where this character ends up. There are so many possibilities at this point.

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Tristan Rude
10/18/2012 03:05:48 pm

I liked how you picked Lovborg instead of one of the "easier" characters. I mean easier in that there isn't as much exposure to Lovborg as there is to other characters.

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Brady
10/17/2012 04:10:18 pm

George Tesman
I like this character because he has obviously had a tough upbringing. Both his parents died so he was brought up by his Aunt. This makes him appreciate what he has and not always want more. His slippers are an example of his. They mean nothing to Hedda but to him they hold a special sentimental value. I dislike how he is so ignorant of Hedda. He allows her to control and manipulate him. This may be because he just doesn't realize her behavior but i believe he chooses to ignore it because he can't bring himself to see her in any other way. This character is interesting because I believe he is going to have a bigger role than is what is being led on to. He is connected to every character in the story and can influence all of them by his decisions. One interaction he has is that with Berta. Hedda sees Berta as just a servant but George sees her as a part of the family. This goes back to his upbringing. He is respectful and appreciates what he has.

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Hannah H
10/17/2012 04:41:56 pm

Geroge Tesman-
In the first act, Mr. Tesman caught my attention. His laid back, relatable approach to situations makes him comfortable to interact with, and although he is book smart he often misses common sense things. This at times could irritate me, but his kindness and tendency to look at the best in the people around him, makes him one of my favorite characters. George has a wonderful relationship with his aunt. Because she was his mother figure, he loves her. And although he has high respect for her, he lets Hedda rudely mistreat her. (the insult of her hat.)This reveals that George is a people pleaser, and at times a pushover. At the same time, George is determined. He made a name for himself, which adds to his character that, dispite his upbringing and misfortune he can achieve great things. I am interested in seeing, how through the rising conflict, George will express his true character.

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Jacob Jones
10/17/2012 06:10:48 pm

I agree that George Tesman is laid back, and that he is a pushover because he allows Hedda to tell him what to do, and he does not complain about how she treats him.

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Kendall
10/17/2012 05:05:25 pm

George Tesman

George Tesman, I believe, is the odd person out in this story. Apart from Berta he stands to be the only character that holds no secrets with Hedda and therefore is uniformed of all the triangles of lies that are developing around him. I am still unsure as to if Tesman is just oblivious to all the drama that is unfolding or he just refuses to take notice in what his wife is involved in. Either way Tesman's presence in the story up to this point is very shadowed and meek.
I tend to like Tesman more than the other characters because he unattached to all the drama. Although it is not his exact choice to be unattached i still enjoy he more because it is in his best intrest to please everyone with a positve attitude. He doesn't judge people and sees the good in every person no matter how little there is, (Hedda).
Tesman is interesting to me because i am curious as to why he decided to merry Hedda. Does he have motive to merrying her or is he just simply mad? Also i wonder if he actually realizes how snobby and manipulative she is. How he is able to put up with all of it really intrigues me. On page 11 when Hedda talks about wanting to move their old piano to a different room and buy another one to replace it, and Tesman replies very calmly agreeing with her even though he is dumbfounded that she would suggest such a thing when they are low on money, this shows the people pleasing side of him. "Suppose we put it there in the inner room, and then get another here in its place" Hedda suggested. Tesman taken back responds, "Yes of course we could do that."

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Trevor
10/17/2012 06:04:00 pm

Judge Brack is a very interesting character in Hedda Gable. Even though he doesn’t appear as much as other characters in the drama, he adds a lot to the plot. Hedda is toying with Judge Brack for slightly different reasons than the other two men. She enjoys being seen mingling with such a socially high ranking man, and she is entertained by their “tete-a-tete” sessions, where she can talk about how rough it is living with such a nerd. I like how he brings a little humor into the drama when he makes an inside joke with Hedda about “Books on his (Tesman’s) special subjects”. This interaction also reveals how Judge Barack lacks respect for Tesman. All he wants is to spend time alone with Hedda where he can openly flirt with her.

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Jacob Jones
10/17/2012 06:06:24 pm

George Tesman
The thing that makes the character interesting to me is that Tesman tries to please everyone. Tesman lets Hedda control him because he loves her; he does what she tells him to do. Tesman does not realize that Hedda is manipulating him, while he is just trying to please her by doing what she wants. When Hedda does something that George Tasman does not like, he is calm and does not get mad about what Hedda does but just lets it go. Hedda treats George rudely, by manipulating him and does not treat him the way she should be treating him. In addition, she only married him because she thought that he might become something or someone.

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Jonathan Delaquito
10/18/2012 12:53:41 am

George Tessman

George Tessman in the play Hedda Gabler I like for a multiple of reasons. First of all he has the ability to like Hedda so much. Hedda treats George like trash but George still loves her. Another reason why I like George is because the way he deals with the problems that are arose. Whenever Hedda says something bad about George, George just blows it off and goes with what ever Hedda wants.

George also is very interesting to me in a variety of ways. Like I said before the way he deals with Hedda is very appealing. The fact that he is also trying to become a professor is also very cool. Even back then it was very difficult to become a professor. I also think that how much he admires his aunt is very interesting.

The one interaction that George has with one of the other characters that is very interesting is his relationship with Aunt Julia. We know that Aunt Julia is the one that rose George because George's parents left him. This is the reason why George has so much respect for his aunt. Even when Hedda is picking on Aunt Julia, George somewhat stands up to Hedda because he has that much respect for her. This is very amazing because on almost all other interactions that Hedda has with other people George stands on the side that Hedda is on. This is the very special interaction that George has with Aunt Julia.

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Sammy Farmer
10/18/2012 05:47:33 am

George Tesman
The author portrays George Tesman as the average Jo. He is what you would call a “nerd” in modern-day terms. I like how he is extremely passionate about achieving his goals and strives to become a professor. It is an attractive trait when someone aims to accomplish something. Although he is incredibly intelligent, he lacks in common sense and is oblivious to hurtful “pokes” from other characters. He intrigues me because I find myself expecting to uncover some “baggage”, but find none. George is good natured and seems to give everyone a chance to prove themselves. His wife, Hedda, couldn’t be any more different than George. She is spoiled, needs attention, and makes people wait on her constantly. When she asks her husband for a new piano, he agrees to buy her one knowing that it will put a big dent in their money supply. This interaction shows how easy going he is, and how he loves Hedda to no end.

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Mackenzie
10/18/2012 06:43:50 am

Hedda
I like Hedda because she is strong. She portrays a strong character that is not pushed around by others. Instead she is the one that pushes people around, which is something that I do not like. Because even though she does not let others push her around which shows strength, something many women in that time (like Mrs. Elvsted) did not show, her pushing others around shows a sign of weakness in a sense. Hedda is so interesting to me because she seams to have a lot of secrets that only a few select people know. She is a manipulator which brings humor to her character and a lot of suspicion as well. Hedda's interaction with Mrs. Elvsted shows that she truly is a manipulator. She cares about no one but herself.

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Tristan Rude
10/18/2012 03:04:22 pm

George Tesman
This character is interesting to me because he is so totally clueless and trusting. He always sees the best in people, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary. This is evident in the way he expected Lovborg to come by despite advice from Judge Brack saying the contrary would happen. He also had no idea how he was being manipulated by his wife Hedda, he is oblivious to her attempts to get him to leave her alone with Mrs. Elvsted. Further, he fails to notice the suspicious nature of Lovborg's sudden acceptance of Judge Brack's invitation. All of these paint a picture of a trusting, rather clueless, and likable fellow, this intrigues me

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