The Fourth Lecture Dr. Mona Mansour
Drama Sunday. 26/10/2008
In this act, we hear of George Tesman. A part of Naturalism here is the description of the character in addition to the action in which the character is involved. The features of the character in its first appearance is very important according to Naturalism and also the interaction between characters.
Page. 8 ----> The stage directions of George Tesman-----> “Humming to himself” means talking to himself. “stout” means fat.
What can this description tell us about him? The handbag which is full of book and documents shows that he is an academic person. “…wear spectacles” again shows that he is an academic person. “stout” shows that he is not sportive or athletic. He is a very academic and studious person. His temperament is cheerful. He is very relaxed wearing “carelessly … comfortable indoor clothes.” George Tesman is not attractive as a lover. He does not have the lovely attractiveness like Judge Brack who always looks like a new married man. Tesman is an orphan, but he is brought up by his aunt and Berta.
In this play, there is no scenes, but there are certain conversations which help to divide the act into several scenes. In ACT I, thee are the conversation between Miss Tesman and Berta and the conversation between Mr Tesman and Miss Tesman.
Page 9----> “Tesman: We were so sorry ….”----> This question is another reference to that Hedda is a spendthrift character. Hedda has expensive habits. The lifestyle she get used to is very high. Tesman is not satisfied with her expensive habits.
What has Miss Tesman done for Mr Tesman? She gives him money to spend his six-month honeymoon.
From where does Tesman get the money for the villa? Not from his wife or Miss Tesman, but from his scholarship. He gets a doctorate. The university pays him a salary to study. This is not enough. Miss Tesman mortgages her annuity to buy the villa and the furniture. Judge Brack says this is just a kind of formality. Miss Tesman always sacrifice for Tesman. She looks up for his job which will make up this this and pays high salary for him. All Tesman does is to marry and get his degree. Anything else his auntie care for.Miss Tesman facilitates the whole atmosphere for Tesman to study, so all what he does is study. Tesman is not a mature person until now.
The relationship between Tesman and his auntie: He is very spoiled by his aunties. He should care for her, but it is quite the opposite. He is more or less pampered, over-protected and almost spoiled. What is about Berta, his nanny? His aunt, Rina, needs Berta more, but they give Berta to him. This is unusual of a man; it is only usual for a girl, not a man. He is used for Berta. Even Berta is worried about what they will do with the new maid. He is very childish which is expected only from a woman, not a man. The new bride usually takes her nanny. It gives her a sense of security and protect. Even the kind of conversation he has with Miss Tesman shows his childish attitude. The stage direction in Page 9 shows that he is a very excited person. Yet, he is no sexually attractive. Even the word “auntie” is very ridiculous for a thirty-five-year old married man. It is not a kind of conversation expected between a man and his aunt, but between a girl and her mother. This is very effeminate and sentimental. This appears in the way he receives and hugs her. Miss Tesman and Berta are responsible for Mr Tesman. Another incident is Tesman’s slippers. He misses his slippers too much in the honeymoon, and is used to his nanny. This is very childish.
They have different habits and protocol. The bonnet Miss Tesman gets for Hedda’s sake shows social inferiority. Hedda refers to Miss Tesman’s bonnet as Berta’s one. This is impolite, so Miss Tesman get impressed. Yet, Mr Tesman does not see this strange and has no sense of shame. When Miss Tesman says “Yes, so that Hedda needn’t be ashamed of me …,” he does not say “Why shamed?”
Miss Tesman puts all her care on Tesman, but now he is married, so she cares for Rina and says “I don’t know what I should make of my life, George … especially now that I haven't you to look after any more.”
The repetition of “eh” is a characteristic of the sense of hesitation and insecurity. It marks a lack of self-confidence.
Page 11----> Miss Tesman’s expectation are that she is looking for Hedda to be pregnant and have children. Yes, Tesman says “I have every expectation of being a professor one of these days”. Tesman is naive. This person is called an obtuse person ( a dull person with slow of perception; the opposite is “acute”). Tesman does not have the social tactic. This is the kind of realistic conversation. Tesman has many prospects of the future. He has not been a professor yet. The most dangerous thing is that Lovborg has just published a book about civilization. The maternal pride of Miss Tesman makes her confident of Tesman to be a professor.
Page 12-----> “Secretary” means “minister”. Hedda does not live according to her husband’s standard.
Page 14 ----> gives a short description of Hedda. In comparison to Hedda, Miss Tesman is countrified and very passionate. You get the impression that Hedda is not a very cheerful person. “Opaque” means it is not “transparent”. She is not shinning. This shows that she is a very serious person. She absorbs information and get it in. She never shows it out. It is difficult to know her character. Hedda is a vey reserved and introvert (not open about herself) person. She is a person who cannot be penetrated. She is an evasive person. All these are in “opaque”.
The stage direction “Holds out her hand” shows this clearly. Hedda always look at life from behind the window. Miss Tesman says “Madam Hedda” as she calls her in a formal way.
(It is required to prove your opinion, not just to describe it openly).