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

Jorgen Tesman
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 1 - Claudia, Nick and Sabrina (Tesman - initial descriptions, Act 1 and 2)
Group 2 - Katherine, Michelle and Jason (Tesman - Act 3 and 4)
Jorgen Tesman
descriptions -
Pg 169
“You mustn’t call Jorgen “Mr” anymore. You must say “Doctor”
Although this shows audiences that he is respected socially as a Doctor, it is also
implied through “anymore” that he may not always have been of this social class.
Furthermore, the constant emphasis and repetition on which Ms Tesman places on
the fact that Mr Tesman is now a doctor shows this may have been a major
achievement for their family.
“He can be anything -he can. Clever like he is”
“The master - The doctor”
Although Hedda is of high class society, she has married someone below her in the
social hierarchy. Although not clearly stated, through the way that Tesman and his
family speak of Hedda, and the way he conducts his speech and actions “He is
comfortably, almost carelessly dressed in an indoor suit” audiences are able to
assume that he is of a lower class compared to Hedda.
“And to think you were the one that carried off Hedda Gabler! The lovely Hedda
Gabler” Here Aunt Julle Implies to audiences that he has married someone above
him in the social hierarchy. This is further reinforced when Aunt Julle buys a hat “So
that Hedda shan’t be ashamed of me if we go out together”. Set in the 20th century,
characters are placed in a male dominated society,this further emphasizes the
difference in class between Mr Tesman and Hedda as he as the male is considered to
have married above him.
Through the way in which Mr Tesman interacts with his aunt in the opening scenes,
we can see that he demonstrates a very affectionate and caring attitude towards
her. “My dear Aunt Julle [Goes up and shakes her hand affectionately” Furthermore
the way he inquires about his family “But I suppose there’s no improvement in Aunt
Rina eh?” shows his close relationship and genuine care towards his family as he
doesn’t ask a vague question but rather questions a specific and recent event.
Act 1 – pg 171 – from top of page until top of page 173
Tesman’s wife has control over him and his aunt, “Hedda won’t be ashamed of me”
Tesman must conform to his wife’s societal expectations
Tesman is aware that his wife is sought after by many men, yet he still remains
foolish and unaware of his wife’s intentions.
Tesman is highly academic, and his interests seem to lie more in his work that in his
marital affairs, and does not gather the hint from his Aunt about having a baby.
The long honeymoon and his excessive spending on his wife shows his struggle to
please his high-maintenance wife.
Act 1 – bottom of page 195 – You ought to prepare yourself – pg 197 exit of Brack
Act 1 introduces a sense of disruption to the novel. It is revealed that Tesman is
competing against an old rival for the professorship. Tesman becomes deeply
concerned about his financial security. Tesman’s insecurity is expressed through
stage directions, such as “clasps his hands together,” and “He flings his arms about.”
His wife does not share his worries, and is unsupportive to her husband. Her stage
directions “immobile in her chair” shows her cold, emotionlessness towards her
husband. She states that ‘it’ll be quite a sporting event,’ almost as if this is a game to
her. She uses the worlds ‘results’ and ‘expectations’ further exhibiting this idea that
her only concern is in the positive outcomes of her marriage.
he tries eagerly to impress her, and she is quite childish in her demands “And the
saddle-horse I was to have had... “I suppose I daren’t even think of that now”
- Tesman is a subserviant and loving husband.
- societal codes of pride + superficiality revealed - relates to a view form the bridge
Act 1 – page 197 exit of Brack – until end of Act
Act 2 – pg 211 entrance of Lovberg – until our way pg 214
“the same age as Tesman”
-Lovborg is the same age as Tesman. Hence this shows that he is a potential threat to
Tesman, because he too is someone with the same prospects in life.
“he seems a little embarrassed”
Tesman tells Lovborg to “as if you were at home”
-threatens Hedda and her position
“No. I only intend to outshine you.”
-Shows that there is a rivalry between Tesman and Lovborg
-said with a hint of humor and makes Lovborg seem arrogant as he understands his
power, which comes from the book.
“But, good Aunt Julle was right after all! There...I said she would be!
Hedda! Just think, Hedda...Ejlert Lovborg isn't going to stand in our way after all”
-Through the multiple exclamations and the dependent nature on Aunt Julle, it
portrays his character as being childlike and immature. The words “isn’t going to
stand in our way after all” may be metaphorical, creating dramatic irony as Lovborg
is one of the characters that causes the later chaos.
Act 3 – pg 232 at top until end of 234
● in admiration of Lovborg’s talent, yet envious of him at the same time
○ found Lovborg’s lost manuscript → doesn’t realise he has the power
to do whatever he wants to the manuscript → he could have
disposed of it for Lovborg is his occupational rival, but instead he
wants to give it back to him → kind, truthful nature
■ “..I must go in and give him this” pg 234
● confides in Hedda about finding the manuscript, trusts her, not knowing her
intentions for the manuscript
● easily taken control of by Hedda, despite being the husband, the male
authority figure → timid, meek, pushover, aware that Hedda wanted by
every man → tries desperately to please her
○ Tesman. No, my dear, sweet Hedda, I swear I just daren’t do that. pg
Tesman. Yes give them to me!
Hedda: No, no, I’ll look after them till you come back.” pg 235
Act 4 – pg 250 – I haven’t got it any more – until entrance of Thea on page 252
Caught in a state of shock and happiness
● Shocked that Hedda actually burned Lovborg’s manuscript; she committed a
● He’s timid and obedient, which contrasts greatly with
Hedda’s impulsive (albeit selfish) and daring actions
● in of disbelief Hedda’s actions
● “Tesman [jumps up in alarm]” pg 250
● “…do you know what it is that you’ve done, Hedda? It’s a
felony… it’s misappropriation of lost property!” pg 250
● Happy yet dubious that Hedda burned Lovborg’s manuscript for his sake
● blindly tries to fulfill Hedda’s every need despite her
apparent neutral emotions towards him; he is aware that
her love for him does not run deep
● not for Tesman’s sake but for own selfish reasons
● “Tesman [exclaiming, torn between doubt and happiness]”
○ “but…I never knew you loved me like that, Hedda,
not in that way. Think of that!”
■ the repetition of the ellipses reflects his
speechlessness and hesitation to believe
that Hedda did it for him
● Easily fooled, won over → Hedda did not actually burn it for
him yet his doubt is replaced by happiness that Hedda feels
so strongly for him;
○ “Hedda [suppressing an almost imperceptible smile]
I did it for you sake Jorgen” pg 251
○ “Tesman [laughing in the excess of his joy]” pg 251
○ “Oh good heavens… it is really possible! Eh!” pg 251
● naive in a sense despite his academic excellence; all he
knows is academics; naive about human nature and
behavior → looks past the fact that Hedda refused to see his
dying aunt because she “must be free of everything that’s
ugly” pg. 235
○ “Oh well for God’s sake then… Oh, I do so hope I’m
not going to be too late, Hedda? Eh?” pg 235
● compassionate; feels guilty for Ejlert’s loss
○ “[Looks uneasy and thoughtful again]… to think of
poor Ejlert.”
Act 4 pg 257 and his last line.
p. 257 - Tesman - “It must be done! It shall be done! I’ll devote my life to this work!”
p. 74 - Brack - “George Tesman really is a simple soul”
Tesman is always the character that brings a balance to the other characters. The
way he speaks is informal, casual and sometimes playful, this contrasts to how
Lovborg is represented. Lovborg is reserved and speaks very formally, similar to how
Hedda speaks.
p. 257 - Tesman - “Well come along then. We must look at these jottings at once
p.257 - Tesman - “My own material will just have to wait”
Tesman urges Mrs. Elvsted to read and analyse the sheets of paper. He says to
Hedda that he will devote all his time to analysing these sheets instead of working on
his own material. This says something about how Tesman thinks and how Brack
previously said that Tesman has a “simple soul”.