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Hedda Gabler and Other Plays

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  446 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In these three unforgettably intense plays, Henrik Ibsen explores the problems of personal and social morality that he perceived in the world around him and, in particular, the complex nature of truth. The Pillars of the Community (1877) depicts a corrupt shipowner’s struggle to hide the sins of his past at the expense of another man’s reputation, while in The Wild Duck (1 ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 30th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published March 30th 1951)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeWaiting for Godot by Samuel BeckettRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time
43rd out of 318 books — 299 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Best Plays Ever
289th out of 656 books — 832 voters

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Community Reviews

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--The Pillars of the Community
--The Wild Duck
--Hedda Gabler

Dec 02, 2011 Rolls rated it it was amazing
I have hated Ibsen for the last 15 years of my life. I was a grad student in an acting program and had to read "Ghosts." I found it melodramatic, heavy handed and just plain ludicrous. It reminded me of a creaky old mansion lousy with mould and damp. Even acting in the "Lady from the Sea"(which I liked)could not make me change my negative opinion of this master of sturm und drung. But being a student of the theatre in general and great playwrights in particular I knew I would one day have to rea ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Catherine rated it liked it
A weird story about a strange and hateful woman.
Simon Mcleish
Nov 20, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here and here in June 2001.

The Pillars of the Community

Also known in English as The Pillars of Society, this play is really the start of the series of plays with social messages which so scandalised nineteenth century Europe. It is a vicious attack on the complacent hypocrisy of Norwegian small town society, especially on the "it couldn't happen here" attitude taken towards the scandals of the wider world.

Karsten Bernick runs a shipping firm in a coastal town, an
Shayaan Rasul
Aug 14, 2013 Shayaan Rasul rated it really liked it
"Hedda Gabler" is the fast-paced story of an unhappily married young woman, whose cunning and manipulation earn her a detestable reputation within the family. Married to Jörgen Tesman, a scholar in the history of civilisation, Hedda makes her misery known by refusing to indulge in her husband's desires. Desperate to earn the satisfaction of his wife, however, Jörgen continually attempts to please Hedda, but fails to evoke any desirable effects. This role-reversal of husband and wife is exquisite ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Claire rated it liked it
This was playwriting homework and I only actually read the last play Hedda Gabler. It was ok, reading plays loses some of their appeal I think - they are meant to be seen. The characters portrayed are such parodies of the time that I struggled to take anything seriously. I didn't really care that Hedda killed a man and then herself. I was actually more interested in the scientific papers lol.
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Mar 16, 2016 DilanAc rated it it was ok
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Liam Broughton
Jul 08, 2013 Liam Broughton rated it really liked it
Some thing I studied for my first year of English Literature I found it one of the best plays on the reading list that included Shakespeare's twelfth night and Pinter's The Caretaker. Perhaps one of the most prominent points of the play is the portrayal of women and that of social acceptability. The main character is quite complex and I would argue is neither good or bad, the combination leaving the audience with mixed emotions. I would describe it as a must read and a play that I would very muc ...more
Jun 23, 2014 alissa rated it really liked it
Ibsen is a master of bringing out hypocrisy in the everyday.
Aug 07, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Timeless classic of modern play act structure. Hedda is not a villian or destructive; her "killing time" is laugh out loud satire, intelligent and very entertaining. Ibsen's form and content are playwriting perfection. How could anyone miss the point and take it too seriously? This isn't tragedy. It is social commentary at its best and most balanced. I saw A Doll's House performed in college and would love to see Hedda Gabler!
Feb 14, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
A Victorian era play about a woman, Hedda Gabler, who was raised around the army by her father, a general, and was no stranger to guns, horses and excitement. Hedda finds no space to live in a world with certain expectations of a lady, and tries desperately to find freedom, life and meaning in the mundane existence she now occupies. I love a story that can pull off an unhappy ending well.
Apr 03, 2016 Mia rated it it was ok
Henrik Ibsen's plays are socially aware drama revealing middle-class issues that people avoided talking about. As you might expect from issues that people avoid talking about they are depressing, so that is why I put ok.
Oct 22, 2015 Marc rated it it was ok
Pillars of the community: Goede aanzet, maar zeer flauwe ontknoping
The Wild Duck: Zeer verward
Hedda Gabler: Sterk geheel, tot het eind; over macht en onmacht, verveling, nihilisme,uitzichtloosheid;
Mar 25, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-visted Hedda Gabler one of my favorite Ibsen Plays regarding a conflict for a passion, social conformity and self-destruction. Terrific twists of revealing the truth.
Oct 21, 2012 Shelley rated it it was amazing
Reading this in high school I was fascinated by Hedda Gabler's character, her defiance and repressed anger. Still love this play.
Mar 02, 2009 Valerie rated it it was ok
I could never get into Ibsen's work. I don't necessarily find his work bad, but I personally don't enjoy it much.
Blair Keating
Dec 02, 2014 Blair Keating rated it liked it
SII Library
1982 Edition
Bush Carkett
Feb 04, 2013 Bush Carkett rated it really liked it
Very Good.
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Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian valu
More about Henrik Ibsen...

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