“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” (Milton, Paradise Lost). What I believe Milton meant by this is that people project what they believe to be right; therefore, the mind can make heaven into hell if that is what the mind believes. In “Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen, Hedda is consistently making things worse for herself because she believes she is not getting enough attention; therefore, she must distract them with her petty games just like Algernon fells he must do in “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. Ibsen and Wilde use props such as a cigarette case, pistols, and a manuscript to help the viewer or reader better understand the characters, their thinking, and their motivation.
The cigarette case is introduced early into the play starting the first trivial conflict between the two main characters, Jack and Algernon. The conflict begins when Algernon refuses to hand the case over to Jack. Algernon, being the annoyance he is to Jack, reads what is prescribed on the inside of the case: “From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack” (Wilde, 384-85). This is a crucial part in the play because it unmasks both Jack and Algernon as having a double life outside of the city. In the country Jack exhibits traditional Victorian values such as duty, honour, and respectability. Jack’s alter-ego Earnest; however, is used to keep his honourable image as “dear Uncle Jack” (Wilde, 385) intact. Jack’s motivation to leave the county and become the character he created is given to the viewer in his first line: “Oh, pleasure, pleasure! What else should bring one anywhere?” (Wilde, 382). The cigarette case also helps the reader understand Jack and Algernon better by cr…
…is centered on a man called Earnest, but throughout most of the play the name Earnest is hypocritical of Jack’s character. In Ibsen’s play, however, the name Hedda fits the main character well. The name Hedda is adapted from the German meaning of “warfare” (Ross, 2014). Although Hedda and Jack are polar opposites they have something in common: they use props to help the viewer understand the characters they portray, their actions, and their motivation.
Milton, John, and Merritt Y. Hughes. Paradise Lost. New York: Odyssey, 1935. Print.
“The Importance of Being Earnest.” Introduction to Literature. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013. 381-432. Print.
Ross, Trevor, Prof. “Lecture 29. Hedda Gabler as Ironic Tragedy.” Halifax. 17 Jan. 2014. Lecture.
“Hedda Gabler.” Introduction to Literature. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013. 227-92. Print.