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Hedda Gabler As The Victim English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1299 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In Hedda Gabler, author Henrik Ibsen paints an odious picture of the main character that could masterfully either lead the reader to loath or possibly even to sympathize with her. Throughout the story she seems continuously tormented in her own life, bored with the roles she feels she’s forced to play. We only witness Hedda Gabler happy when she is actively torturing or destroying the lives of others. Only after closely examining Hedda’s words and actions, can we begin to delve into her world and the possible motives behind her tortured soul.

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Throughout the story it is made quite evident through her own words that Hedda feels she is a coward. She struggles with taking control of her own life, yet finds ease and entertainment in having control over the lives and emotions of others. Due to her popularity among the other characters in her life, she held a great power over them, eventually leading to their pain or destruction. In the end when Brock gained control over Hedda’s future and thus held the ultimate power over her, she felt she had to escape. She wanted to forever remain on the pedestal of vanity and so freed herself by committing a “beautiful death” as her exit to this life.

We all likely do not agree with Hedda Gabler’s actions and attitude, but if we dare to look further into her person we might even begin to sympathize with her. However, even with this sympathetic view I do not consider her a victim. Regardless of the customs of society or one’s upbringing, we always have the choice in how we react with the world and how we choose to mold our lives. This story illustrates that playing the victim doesn’t solve anything; it only makes life a miserable waste.

“The Metamorphosis”

In Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” he reveals the crutch of dependence and the transformation of character that comes through taking control and responsibility. In the setting of Gregor’s parent’s home, we perch like a fly on the wall, and observe the relationships between him and his family and more importantly, the relationship they have with their own selves. Each character relies on everyone other than themselves to create their condition in life, that is, until the metamorphosis. As Gregor’s outward appearance changes, so does everyone’s perception of life and their responsibilities. Therefore, not only is this story about the metamorphosis of one’s body, but it is more importantly the metamorphosis of the inner selves of Gregor and his family.

Before the transformation Gregor lived his human life similarly to that of an insect, in such that neither creature was given any respect or value by those individuals around him in daily life. He was enslaved in the debt of his family and so buried himself in work, doing nothing to improve upon his own position of living. He willingly filled his life with his work so that he could provide a better life for his parents and sister, yet never taking time for his own happiness or growth. Gregor’s metamorphosis into a bug hardly fazed him, because it was merely a change to his outward appearance that more closely reflected his inner person and the life he had accepted long ago.

His family relied so strongly on human Gregor to be their stable breadwinner, that they could only see his unfortunate predicament as being an insurmountable barrier to their continuing happiness. After his metamorphosis, they cloaked themselves in fear, anger, despair, and resentment. Gregor’s death freed them of their dependence and victimization within themselves. They chose to stop holding themselves back and start moving forward on their own accord, towards achieving the life that they wanted, all on their own.

Franz Kofka sketched quite an intriguing tale that seems so simple on a superficial level but when we look beyond the guise of physical transformation, we can discover many layers of meaning. The relationship between Gregor and his family switched roles through the simple change of his appearance. He then became reliant on their help to survive, while they became more independent by distancing themselves from him and finally entering the work force. This story illustrated a metamorphosis of body and mind in an amusing and insightful way; and through this transformation the family was freed of their chains of dependence, forced to stop burdening those they care about, and take control of their lives.

Favorite and Least Favorite Works

Over the last four weeks we have covered another assortment of literary works; from “Hedda Gabler” to “Ode to the Tomato”, we’ve witnessed and analyzed the lives and choices of struggling characters in stories during the years 1800-1900AD. With each piece of literature we caught a glimpse of the customs of society during these times. Whether it is due to the characters themselves or the style and theme of the story, there were some literary works I enjoyed more than others, however, we can always take something of value from each piece of literary art.

My favorite written work in this section has been by poet, Pablo Neruda. I love descriptive writing that easily transports the reader into the setting and story with ease, and his eloquent and captivating words do just that. This excerpt from “Canto General” demonstrates Neruda’s stunning written imagery that further inspires me as a writer:

Kiss the secret stones with me. The torrential silver of the Urubamba makes the pollen fly to its yellow cup. It spans the void of the grapevine, the petrous plant, the hard wreath upon the silence of the highland casket. Come, minuscule life, between the wings of the earth, while–crystal and cold, pounded air extracting assailed emeralds-O, wild water, you run down from the snow.

Love, love, even the abrupt night, from the sonorous Andean flint to the dawn’s red knees, contemplates the snow’s blind child.

Through these words I am swept into the magnificent landscapes of Latin America. I can see the shimmering silver river branching through the terrain, below the magnificent Macchu Picchu, gushing with glacier runoff as clear and as precious as emerald gems. The glow of the rising sun spreads its blanket of warmth across its child of earth.  He describes this already enchanting place with such vibrancy and natural beauty, that I am at peace and intrigued for what is to come.

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My least favorite work would be “Trifles”, by Susan Glaspell. This piece didn’t captivate me with its writing style or even its story. We were confined in the single setting of Minnie’s home with very flat characters and simple conversations; so to me it seemed like a bland murder mystery. This story did have the intrigue of mystery and deception but it didn’t capture my interest, nor did it seem to have an underlying moral law. Although this story was not my favorite, it did hold true to the anthology of this section and left much to be contemplated by the reader.

In each of the literary works from this section we have stepped into the lives of various struggling individuals; whether they’re struggling with themselves or with society, they are all trying to break through the mold. However, none of these characters are truly successful in this quest because they get stuck feeling like the victim instead of taking control and moving in the direction they desire. Obviously death is not the only answer to obtaining freedom and control; it is a shame that many of these characters felt there was no better way.


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