German dramatist, born at Wesselburen (Norderdithmarschen) in 1813 and died in Vienna in 1863.
Son of a bricklayer, Hebbel family environment was very precarious, so it could receive a good education; However, it had access to historical and literary works in house of the judge of the parish district that was working as a clerk, which provided him with a self-taught. He/She tried to escape the bourgeois atmosphere of the community lived in that becoming an actor, but failed. After a one year stay in Hamburg, he/she went to Munich to study classical literature with F.W. Schelling, but did not get any success as a writer. After returning to Hamburg in 1839 worked as resenista in the magazine founded by K.F. Gützkow Telegraph für Deutschland (telegraph to Germany) and concluded its tragedy, Judith (1841). It felt, however, that his vocation was the write great tragedies, so he/she developed his artistic conception in the controversial trial Mein Wort über das Drama (my word about the drama, 1843), which earned a doctorate in Erlangen in 1844. Thanks to a scholarship granted by the Danish King Christian VIII, he/she was able to travel to Paris, where he/she met H. Heine, Felix Bamberg, great connoisseur of the philosophy of Hegel, and Arnold Ruge, the founder of Hallische Jahrbücher (yearbooks of Halle), and radical democrat. In 1844 he/she published Maria Magdelene (María Magdalena).
After making a trip to Italy, he/she moved to Vienna in 1845; the following year he/she married the actress Christine Enghaus, which provided him with the necessary material support so that he/she could lead a life free from material concerns, and offered him extensive contacts with the world of theater. When his fame as a dramatist was growing, exploded the revolution of 1848, which took the constitutional monarchy. In the chaos of the revolution Herod was born und Marianne (Herod and Mariana, 1850) and shortly after Agnes Bernauer (1852).
An attempt to claim social for part of their female protagonists, as well as the struggle between the sexes, which already glimpsed many characteristics of naturalism is evident in its dramas. While its dramas are always a classic structure and reflect the idea of a world order, which must respect a few immutable ideals, is regarded as the first modern playwright. His trilogy Die Nibelungen (the Nibelungen, 1862) obtained in 1863 the Schiller prize.
His lyrical production is much less significant; in three collections, published respectively in 1842, 1848 and 1857, it gathers poems that reflect their philosophical ideas about life, death and nature. For a long time no attention was paid to their diaries, letters and essays on literature, although constitute, as shown later, authentic documents of the history of the 19th century.