Hedda Gabler

Ibsen versus Society: Three Breakthrough Dramas College

Henrik Ibsen was born in 1828 to a merchant family in the small Norwegian town of Skien. After his family fell into poverty, he was forced out of his education and, at 15, worked as an apprentice in a pharmacy. It was here that he began writing plays. Ibsen was by no means an instant success. He spent many years writing, working for a theatre company, and publishing to little attention. Cynical of the small-minded society he lived in, Ibsen sent himself into exile, writing the play that would give him traction, Brand. This and his next play (Peer Gynt) raised him to prominence and influence. At the “peak” of his career, Ibsen began exploring unspoken themes. In 1879, he published A Doll’s House, and scandalized Victorian society. His next several plays did not lighten in thematic content, either. Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck and Hedda Gabler struck against the wall of the late 18th century culture that Ibsen despised. His plays did receive stage attention, often selling out every performance. Nevertheless, they incited public outcry and critical infamy. He suffered a series of disabling strokes and died on May 23. His last words were to his nurse, who told a visitor that he was improving. In disagreement, he...

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