Article Title

Hedda and Bailu: Portraits of Two "Bored" Women


Chengzhou He


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

A shot is heard within the inner room. Tesman runs in. Immediately, we hear him yelling at Brack: “Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Think of that!” Brack replies, as if speaking to himself: “But, good God Almighty … people don’t do such things!”1

Such is the last scene before the curtain falls in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (1890). The person who shoots herself is Hedda, the heroine of the play. According to Ibsen’s description, Hedda is “a lady of 29. Her face and her figure are aristocratic and elegant in their proportions. Her complexion is of an even pallor” (179).


1Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler, trans. Jens Arup and James W. McFarlane, The Oxford Ibsen, 8 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1960–77), 7:268; all quotations in English translation are taken from this edition and will be cited in this article by page numbers in parentheses.

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