Throughout Hedda Gabler my perception of Hedda was influenced by many of the theatre languages. From the costumes she wore, the props she used, and the lighting that illuminated the stage, all of the languages had an enormous effect on my perception of Hedda. The first language that influenced my perception of her character was her costumes.
The theatre language that caught my eye first was the use of Hedda’s costumes. As the play began she was wearing a bright elegant gown; without using the knowledge I already had about her from reading the play, this to me demonstrated her attempt to appear sane and in control of her life. As the scenes changed, so did her costumes; she began to wear darker colored gowns and at the same time her character’s persona became darker also. In the last scene she is wearing a black gown with a touch of red; this influenced my perception a great deal. The small amount of red in her dress played a role in influencing my perception of her character. To me, the color red reminds me of blood and this idea along with many other aspects seen in the play, showed the pain and suffering Hedda had been through or put herself through.
By examining her final costume, it was easy to see that this was the final chapter in her life. She was wearing the darkest color of them all, black, which is almost always associated with death; and as seen in the end of the play it fits in perfectly.Along with the use of costumes, the props Hedda handled throughout the play also influenced my idea of her character. During the beginning of the play Hedda casually lights and smokes a cigarette; this in my opinion did not seem like a normal thing for a “presentable lady” to do in those days. This gave me the idea that Hedda was somewhat rebellious and did not portray the proper manners a “lady” was supposed to. Along with her smoking habit, the idea that she randomly fired her two pistols into the garden, nearly missing the judge at one point also influenced my opinion about her character. Reemphasizing her rebelliousness, this act also showed her lack of respect for human life; firing a pistol in the general direction of anyone demonstrates a complete disregard for the life of the person being fired upon.
With these props being used as they were, my perception of Hedda changed dramatically. The last language that influenced my perception of Hedda was the use of lighting. During the pre-show, I noticed a tree-like figure being portrayed on the curtain. This particular use of lighting showed the tree as being partially dead and had lost some of its leaves. This represented my perception of Hedda very appropriately; she was dying inside and had lost some of her sanity. As the first act ended, the curtain now displayed a different tree with fewer leaves and a more deathly look about it. This could also be seen in Hedda, as she is even more distraught than before and begins to show more signs of her insanity.
This trend continued with the next two acts as the tree lost more leaves and in the end was nothing more than a bare shell of a tree. My perception of Hedda at this point was one of complete hopelessness; she was nothing more than an empty shell of the woman she was before. With the dead leafless tree in mind it was easy to have my perception of Hedda influenced; I could see that she had nothing more to live for and would end the play in that manner.Examining only these three theatre languages, I acquired a pretty clear perception of Hedda’s character.
Using these languages Hedda’s subtext was easily deciphered and very apparent throughout the play. These languages by themselves created a very complex character; at the same time, by examining these languages as a whole made her character very easy to perceive.Theater