Condemned by British critics in 1890 when it was written, "Hedda Gabler" has since become one of Ibsen's most frequently performed plays. Its title role is elusive and complex: Hedda is an intelligent and ambitious woman, trapped in the stifling environment of a bourgeois 19th-century marriage. When writer Eilert Loevborg, an old flame returns to Hedda's life with a masterpiece that might threaten her husband's career under his arm, Hedda decides to take drastic and fatal action, drawing all in her doomed circle into a catastrophe of her own design. Blending comedy and tragedy together, Ibsen probes the thwarted aspirations and hidden anxieties of his characters against the background of contemporary social conditions and attitudes. Methuen Student Editions are annotated texts of a wide range of plays from the modern and classic repertoires. As well as the complete text of the play itself, the volume contains a chronology of the playwright's life and work, an introduction giving the background to the play; a discussion of the various interpretations; and notes on individual words and phrases.
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