“Shot me down with the love and it go bang bang”

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsenfour major plays

The story

Ibsen lived quite a while ago, so you would be forgiven for thinking that, when he sat down to write about the faults of modern society in his exciting Hedda Gabler, his views might be a little old-fashioned. Not so.

Published in 1890, Hedda Gabler is a world which is both recognisable and alien. It was a time when Aunt Julle could still care about her fancy hat, and the late General Gabler could carry pistols. Homely, mundane and utterly vicious. If you just happen to be middle or upper class though, it’s a world you should still be familiar with.

The story follows the supposed wedded bliss of Mr. and Mrs. Hedda Tesman, an academic and his discontent, and most likely pregnant, wife. Both have just returned from a long honeymoon. Of course, Mr. Tesman remains blind to the secret manipulations that his spouse inflicts on his rivals.

All the while, Hedda plays with her late father’s pistols, and we are all made to wonder who is going to end up shot. The synopsis offers us:

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