Sylvia Plath’s “Pursuit” in Relation to Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”

In comparing Sylvia Plath’s poem “Pursuit” to Henrik Ibsen’s play “Hedda Gabler,” 1 can see lots of similarities among their themes of emotional distress and the destructive tendencies of unstoppable internal demons. Throughout “Pursuit,” a panther hunts Plath, the panther symbolizing an internal feeling that is literally trapping and killing her. In the identical way, Hedda’s personal feelings and actions have ensnared her, and she feels that her only way of escape is via death. My poem, “Finale” closely imitates Plath’s poetic mannerisms in “Pursuit,” although incorporating themes from “Hedda Gabler,” in order to explain her suicide. The poem is titled “Finale” since it reveals the events major to the outcome of the final act of the play “Hedda Gabler,” and it also incorporates a private interpretation of the causes of the final scene of Hedda’s life – her death.

The extended metaphor throughout “Finale” is that of a train, paralleling the extended metaphor of the panther in “Pursuit.” This was inspired by the train conceit in Act Two of “Hedda Gabler,” which seems for the duration of Hedda’s elusive conversation with Brack, involving a series of metaphors regarding Brack’s wishes to enter a train compartment with Hedda and her husband, which would subsequently develop a triangular relationship in between himself, Hedda, and Tesman. The conversation ends with Hedda admitting that she would not thoughts “somebody else [climbing] into the compartment” (Ibsen 204). Ironically, the finish of this conversation leads to the starting of Hedda’s feeling that she is losing handle, which signifies the start of the situation that will lead to the end of her life. “Finale” each starts and ends with a direct reference to the train simply because of this Hedda’s feeling that she had lost handle was so excellent that it engulfed her, mentally stalked her, and created a worry that was gradually consuming her. It follows that she felt that her only way to escape the life that she saw spanning out before her was by means of death.

The train in “Finale” proves to be stealthier than the panther in “Pursuit”, for whilst the panther is an apt pursuer, the train accomplishes what it has striven for throughout the poem – Hedda’s death. This fact is revealed in the fourth line of “Finale,” when it is stated that the train “stalks more stealthily than the panther,” as the future of the life of the speaker in Plath’s poem is not definite, although it is…

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