The Consequences of Marriage

This paper uses three different literary works, Anton Chekhov’s The Lady with the Pet Dog, Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” and Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, to discuss the role that marriage plays in society.

This paper examines the role that marriage plays in society, both past and present. The author uses three different literary works, The Lady with the Pet Dog, Hedda Gabler and The Death of Ivan Ilyich to illustrate how marriage has maintained itself as an institution of society over the years. The main characters in these three stories demonstrate how societal pressures often lead people to marry for the wrong reasons and how loveless, or meaningless marriages often occur for different reasons. Hedda is forced to marry because she is a woman, Ilyich marries only because society expects him to take a wife and Gurov finds himself in a loveless marriage that leads him to an affair and his finding true love. The author uses these characters to send the message that marriage without thought can often have serious consequences that destroy lives.
In the play Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen also makes a comment on the institution of marriage in society. Just as in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, marriage is a requirement of society and something people must accept. Ibsen offers his views on the implications of this by focusing on the impact on the woman in the marriage. It is noted that the woman has the least control in a marriage, the woman being seen as inferior and powerless to the man. The main character, Hedda Gabler, is aware of this, with the play being her story of how she reacts to these controls. Hedda is a female with a character that is difficult to contain. She is not the character who accepts restrictions placed upon her, but is fiercely independent. The fact that she has no choice but to accept marriage shows just how certain the role of women is in society.