Character analysis - Lovborg - Year 12/13 IB English Lang-Lit

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Ejlert Lovborg
Task:
Examine the presentation of Tesman and Lovborg in the play ‘Hedda Gabler’
Think about how Ibsen presents them as contrasting figures in the play.
Produce an analysis of the sections you have been given and analyse the effect of the quotes
you select too.
Group 3 - Anisha, Katrina and William (Lovborg - initial descriptions, Act 2)
Group 4 - Erika, Ollie and Nathalie (Lovborg - Act 3 and 4)
Ejlert Lovborg
Initial introduction
Pg 211



Looks older than Tesman
Dressed elegantly in dark colors
at the same social level as Hedda and Brack
Significant scenes

Act 2 –pg 215- 217
 Hedda is very secretive of her conversation is Lovborg - changes the topic when Tesman
returns
 Lovborg thinks that Hedda deserves someone better than Tesman
o “Hedda Gabler married. And married to...Jorgen Tesman!” (216)
o “...how could you throw yourself away like that?” (216)
 Looks down upon Tesman, can hint a sense of jealousy in his voice - use of ellipsis and
pauses, Ibsen also directs this to be performed with a sense of bitterness
o “[with bitterness in his voice]. Hedda Gabler .. and married to … Jorgen Tesman!”
Act 2 pg 218- 220 – Don’t assume any such thing
 Lovborg has a much deeper interest in Hedda than Tesman, who is mostly focused on
academics; also questions their past relationship
o “...wasn’t love at the back of it all?”
 He sees himself as having things in common with Hedda - “common lust for life” - p.219
 He refers to Hedda as a ‘coward’ for being afraid to shoot him, and Thea as ‘stupid’ for
her naivety - shows that he is unafraid to be forthright about his thoughts
Act 2 pg 221-Isnt’t she lovely to Your health Thea pg 223
 Lovborg initially claims that he doesn’t care about what others think of him
o “People can think whatever they like” (222)
 Lovborg has a strong sense of male pride. When Hedda reveals Mrs Elvsted’s desperation to
him he seems almost insulted before he breaks his own rules and drinks - his defiance
reflects his pride
o “So that was my companion’s confident belief in me.” - Lovborg, p. 223
 doesn’t feel the need to conform to his peers and social class. Hedda is attracted to this
Act 2 page 224 - Thanks for the truth until end of Act 2.
 Lovborg seems to want to prove himself to others
o “I’ll show you… both you and the others… that however worthless I may have been
in the past, I… I’ve found my feet again!” (224)

Act 3 – page 240 -242 – our book will never be published
 ‘He looks somewhat confused and excited’ - stage directions

‘Everthing’s too late now. I’m finished.’ o Easily downcast himself. This point is higlighted when Lovborg says ‘I don’t intend to
do any more work’
Act 3 page 243 – 244
 ‘It’s impossible now.’ - Lovborg
 ‘I’ve torn my own life to pieces. So I might as well tear up my life’s work as well.’ - Lovborg
o States it as a fact. Has a cynical mindset here and is not open to optimistic changes
to his life as he believes it is hard after his prior addiction to alcohol.
 ‘...after a while they’ll sink. Deeper and deeper. Like I will, Thea.’ - Lovborg
o Metaphorical of his self-destruction. Although he is a recovered alcoholic, all of the
mess he created in his earlier life due to drinking does not simply disappear. Deeper
and deeper suggests that it is extremely difficult to fully escape his unfortunate past
like it is impossible to connect the broken pieces of a single book.
Act 3 pg 245 until end of act
 ‘But to kill his child...that’s not the worst thing a father can do’ → ‘I’ve lost him. Just like
that.’
o Lovborg realizes the severity of what has happened. By using the metaphor of a
father and his child, we realize that is deeply burdened by the fact that he has lost
his manuscript. He believes that losing his manuscript (unjustifiably) is far worse
than burning it.

Act 4 – circumstances of death – pg 259
 Even despite his last meeting with Hedda it is revealed that Lovborg was unable to end his
life because of his obsession with his manuscript
 He becomes careless before his death by carrying a loaded pistol causing his accidental
suicide
 Hedda is disgusted by the way he died as she wanted a ‘beautiful death’ for him.
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