Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hedda Gabler” as Want to Read:
Hedda Gabler
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hedda Gabler

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  25,346 Ratings  ·  430 Reviews
In 1890, Henrik Ibsen premiered Hedda Gabler, a play questioning the role of women in Victorian society. Some audiences have viewed Gabler as a woman driven to desperation simply because her world has turned out to be less charmed than she hoped. For others, she is a victim of her times, unwilling to devote herself, as was expected of her, to the duties of home. Jon Robin ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published May 25th 2001 by Grove Press (first published December 1890)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hedda Gabler, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hedda Gabler

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 23, 2015 Kalliope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation

What is in a text, what was written, what we read, or, in the case of plays, what is acted out?

Continuing my theatre season, I attended a performance of Hedda Gabler, but read the text before hand, and listened in parallel to an excellent dramatized version .

I had watched another performance during my university days, and my memories of the work seem to be centered on the rights of women. To find their own place in their society and to find and exert their own volition in their lives aI recalled
Feb 13, 2013 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: now I am burning your child
Recommended to Mariel by: Sean
I want for once in my life to have power to mould a human destiny.

People are in other rooms, people sitting on sofas and people behind desks. Voices from other rooms and voices carry. People have their destinies as their children in hearts cold ashen wombs worth nothing until it thrown away. I don't want to call it human. I don't see arms and legs and feet.
I felt the tragedy of the loss of Hedda Gabler's life to her own colorless lightning when the speed stopped. Big eyes in a head and I don't k
Sidharth Vardhan
Oct 13, 2016 Sidharth Vardhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, plays
Ibsen's plays are full of characters unhappy with the life they are socially expected to live and feel a wish to break away from it. A Doll's House is about a woman that chose to break away from such a life upon being disillusioned about it while Ghosts is about a woman who regrets missing the opportunity when she had a chance. Here, we have a woman who is tempted to break away from socially expected life but is afraid of scandel. There is thus this frustration which doesn't leave her much to fi ...more
What a character, Hedda Gabler! A woman who could be called evil but in fact a woman in desperate need for something extraordinary even if it is in death. Blasphemous in a way, she cares less about the outcome than what leads to it. In short, one of the most powerful, interesting and well-crafted characters in literature. Four stars dedicated to her. Otherwise, the story is good but far from perfect.
Feb 14, 2016 Mya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't like it

I thought hedda was a bitch and got was she deserve.

I guess I can understand the desire for freedom.
Jun 06, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, intriguing, and really, really good. This work of Ibsen's strips his characters of anything spiritual and focuses intently on the society in which they find themselves in, and boy, the nineteenth-century was strictand super dull.

Hedda is trapped in an era that she is too modern for - she's stuck in an unhappy marriage simply to keep the middle class lifestyle that a woman in that time wouldn't have been able to uphold on her own. She wants to be independent and free but society holds up a
Dec 30, 2016 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see him. With vineleaves in his hair. Flushed and confident.

I have intended on reading Ibsen my entire adult life. Thinking that perhaps my number may be up, I finally ventured and am glad I did. This play was surprisingly modern and kinetic. Not sure why, but I expected something dour, suffering in the shadows. Violence through understatement. A Scandinavian skewering of morals.

Mismatched couples are such fun--from Middlemarch to The Honeymooners. I'd like to read responses to the charact
Ken Moten
Sep 12, 2016 Ken Moten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, realism-stuff
You know when you meet someone for the first time, but they feel like in old acquaintance because both of you share a mutual friend or relation? In my case the "someone" is Henrik Ibsen and mutual friend is Søren Kierkegaard. Ibsen is often called the "Father of Realism" (one of my favorite genres) and Kierkegaard is often called the "Father of existentialism" (my favorite school of philosophy). This guy was tailor-made for me. This is a tough, but entertaining play as far as I am concerned.

Sep 26, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: henrik-ibsen
“Good god, people don't do such things!”
― Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler
Such a good story:)
Catherine ♡
Jan 21, 2017 Catherine ♡ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Read for school.)

I actually really liked this play! It was interesting to see the power dynamic between Hedda and George - it says a lot about the type of society they lived in. And Hedda was definitely a very unique character.
Josh Belville
Oct 01, 2011 Josh Belville rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
I suppose in the long run, I prefer Hedda Gabler to Doll's House, if only because Hedda is such an amazing protagonist to watch when you think of the social context of the play being performed in 1890. Today, she seems like a cold, heartless bitch. And even back then, people may have thought that. But she also bucks the trend of the "well made play," by becoming an anti-hero of sorts. And really, who is the one to follow in this play in the first place? George? Eilert? Mrs Elvsted? No one seems ...more
Mara Shaw
Sep 23, 2012 Mara Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ibsen captured the horror of the limited options available to women of propriety in 1890 with violence and virtuosity. It is irrelevant whether you like Hedda or not. She was not cut out to live within the straight jacket of society. None of the available options -- and Ibsen brilliantly explores them all (marriage, affair, manipulation of men) -- were a hell to her.

This play shook the world of "women's" lit long before women could vote. Originally performed only for women, it surprised the the
Jan 19, 2012 Lavinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, in-en, 2012
Dark is probably not the adjective to describe it. I've seen it mentioned in one of the descriptions. Nor is Hedda evil. But the drama definitely holds a certain coldness to it (the same coldness one meets in Bergman's films, I'm tempted to say) and I cannot admit I understand Hedda entirely; she starts as a master of puppets, seems mischievous and always plotting but ends up alone and misunderstood. And makes you think she was alone and misunderstood all along.
I'm definitely looking forward to
Endlich ist die Protagonistin eines Ibsen-Dramas ein bösartiges Frauenzimmer! Ich glaube, noch nie ein Stück mit derart großen Genuss verschlungen zu haben, in dem ich keine der Hauptfiguren mochte. Aber Ibsen lässt sie glaubwürdig vor dem geistigen Auge des Lesers entstehen und entspinnt eine Handlung von ungeheuerlicher Dramaturgie, die mich einfach nur begeisterte. Es blieb mir unmöglich, das Heftchen aus der Hand zu legen, nachdem im Zweiten Akt zahlreiche Überraschungsmomente und Spannungse ...more
Feb 10, 2017 Zahra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
- "I often think there is only one thing in the world I have any turn for.”

- “And what is that, if I may ask?"

- "Boring myself to death."
This is undoubtedly a play to be performed if one ever existed. Hedda is a brilliant female character - Lady Macbeth meets Betty Draper. She must be applauded as a female character who is not a hero or a villain, not a bitch or a crone, but a cruel, neurotic, charismatic presence. I was surprised by the almost feminism of Ibsen's play, how he manages to serve Hedda so well, with fantastic dry wit - the subtlety of the scene between her and Judge Brack would be spine-chilling on stage - and glori ...more
Jan 25, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, audiobook
I was supposed to read this book a long time ago in undergrad. I finally got around to it. I'm sure it has some deep symbolic meaning attached to it, but here are my conclusions. Hedda was a horrible person. I didn't think I was supposed to feel sympathy for her until the end, but even then.
Read via DailyLit in 47 parts. (Edmund Gosse and William Archer translation.) I read this in college in a very bad class, and I was curious about NYC's new revival so it was time for a reread. Thank goodness! I only remembered what happens at the end, and not at all why.

This read was much more thought-provoking. And somehow, though it is key, I didn't recall the theme of Hedda's pregnancy at all. (It was a really bad class.) And that's not a spoiled revelation; though she only (barely) admits it
Mar 06, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: play, ibsen
Hedda Gabler is truly an intelligent, unpredictable, self-centered, manipulating woman. She enjoys the luxurious lifestyle and has found some poor sap, Jurgen Tesman, to marry her. The play begins with their arrival home from their 6 month honeymoon. Tesman's aunt Julie, arrives at their home to meet the newlyweds with a gift of slippers for Tesman from his sickly aunt Rina. It appears that Hedda's clothing is loose fitting and she seems to be "showing" (pregnant). Hedda insults both her husband ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harold Bloom has called this play Shakespearean in scope and character, and I think he is correct. The central enigma is Hedda herself, a character of erotic self-destructiveness, fascinating and frightening simultaneously. Is she the embodiment of pure and inexplicable evil, as Iago would seem to be, or is she a victim of her time and culture, a woman of profound aspirations and ability trapped in a constricted and unimaginative marriage and role from which she tries desperately to escape? Her ...more
Nov 20, 2014 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at how a society based on reputation functions. The last line of the play (Good God! People don't do such things) is really reinforcing that concept that one's reputation is more important than one's character. Hedda is not a likeable character. She is manipulative and has a mean streak. Her desire to create the best life for herself leads her to make decisions which seem cold blooded. However, the society where she finds herself doesn't give her too many options. Her sex lim ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Brian Friel's version of Hedda Gabler throws new light on its two female archetypes - Hedda, the beautiful trapped and doomed heroine; and Thea, the less socially admired, yet much freer, new woman. Both women ultimately take their fate into their own hands, in very different ways.

Jan 30, 2015 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Why, oh why, do I get the impression that Ibsen didn't like his female protagonists very much?

Or, in other words, is there a specific reason that both Nora (from A Doll's House) and Hedda are written as two rather silly women, both incapable of a rational thought?

Surely, exploring the theme of individuals trapped in situation which they want to escape from has more to offer than half-baked schemes, lies, deception, and artistic illusions?

 Sophia B
Only Ibsen could write Hedda, our dear Hedda Gabler, beloved and hated, she fascinates us and repels us. She. She. She.
Trapped in a home, in a marriage. With child. Trapped in a society where women belong to the home, to the man, to the child(ren). What is there for her to control? What is there for her to live - and to die for? What is the way out of the trap?
Jessica Darling
Went to watch an adaptation of this tonight at the National Theatre. Ruth Wilson was Hedda Gabler, and she was dynamite. Rafe Spall also had a lot of stage time and gave a very dynamic performance. I guess it's hard to say if it's the actual play I want to give 5 stars or the version that I watched. I read through this on the way home though and was still blown away, but was of course picturing the actors enactment. The version I saw was a lot more darkly comic than I think most would read into ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read plays often - I’m most inclined to read a play in anticipation of seeing a live performance of it. (I have numerous happy memories of sitting in line outside the Public Theatre in New York on a summer morning, reading a Shakespeare play while I waited for the free tickets to see an exquisite production at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park that night.) When I do read plays, I am struck by the way most of them require more proactivity than most literature. One must infer an unders ...more
Sep 18, 2011 Bronte rated it it was amazing
Since I had to read it for class I entered the play knowing what to look out for; however, even without a set goal in mind this is a very thought-provoking piece. Strange enough I could sympathize with Hedda although she was very unstable and manipulative. The lifestyle she married into seemed like a nightmare, having a husband who found the excitement in old documents and organizing. Of course, she shouldn't have married into that lifestyle if she knew she wouldn't be happy, but I digress.

A th
kajkage ✨
Dec 06, 2016 kajkage ✨ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long story short: Hedda was Savage.
Feb 15, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, kindle-reads
I enjoyed this play - it was a quick and easy read, and each character had a definite personality of their own which made it easy to distinguish between them in such a short space of time.

The play revolves around Hedda Gabler, a newly married woman who is bored with her marriage and life, and likes to toy with people and influence their fates. Ibsen writes about themes of jealousy, rivalry over both love and careers, and the female position in the home, with a deftness that made this play drama
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: please add page numbers 3 14 Dec 27, 2016 07:20AM  
  • Miss Julie
  • The Seagull
  • Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Machinal
  • Mother Courage and Her Children
  • Buried Child
  • Oleanna
  • Stop Kiss
  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
  • Betrayal
  • The Skin of Our Teeth
  • I Am My Own Wife
  • The Little Foxes
  • Major Barbara
  • The American Dream & The Zoo Story
  • The Pillowman
  • Private Lives
  • Proof
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...

Share This Book

“It’s a release to know that in spite of everything a premeditated act of courage is still possible.” 28 likes
“It's a liberation to know that an act of spontaneous courage is yet possible in this world. An act that has something of unconditional beauty.” 19 likes
More quotes…