"The title of the play is Hedda Gabler. My intention in giving it this name was to indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than as her husband's wife. It was not really my intention to deal in this play with so-called problems. What I principally wanted to do was to depict human beings, human emotions, and human destinies, upon a groundwork of certain of the social conditions and principles of the present day. When you have read the whole, my fundamental idea will be clearer to you than I can make it by entering into further explanations."- Ibsen's Letter to a friend.
Ibsen’s aim with Hedda Gabler was to make the dialogue as realistic as possible. The language and dialogue between characters is easy for the audience to follow. The use of very naturalistic language and words suited to the period and the characters. (For example, Hedda, uses quite sophisticated and polite language, as would be expected of her at the time.)
Ibsen relates the play to a marked change in society in the 19th century, with the apparent beginning and rise of feminism. This theme is evident in some of his other work such as his play ‘The Dolls House’. Ibsen had a definite interest in feminism, and the issues related to it such as women’s oppression. In the case of Hedda Gabler, the framework of the ‘Problem Play’ is used to convey the social issue of feminism, with Hedda being trapped in the house, and unable to take a position in society. Ibsen aimed to represent Hedda as a female role against the typical stereotypes set at the time. Women were expected to get married and stay at home, being seen as fragile and unintelligent. Of course, Hedda is neither of things, thus emphasizing Ibsen’s point of female oppression in the 19th century.
The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, for the ideas and themes considered are very dark and Ibsen seems to hint pro-feminism themes. Nonetheless, the play subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama. A 1902 production was a major sensation on Broadway starring Minnie Maddern Fiske and following its initial limited run was revived with the actress the following year.Because of this theme, an audience at the time would have to be aware of their surrounding situation. The play itself if very controversial representing a women going against the societal norms, nonetheless with feminism at rise during their time period, some woman may have welcomed the themes, as they represented women in a realistic light.