Soaking in the tub is an integral activity in Blanche's life.
This activity symbolizes Blanche’s strong desire to wash away the ‘dirt’ of her inner self, that desire or lust for young men, prompted by the tragedy of her young husband’s death, that has led her to her current desperate situation. The effect of this symbol is to create pity for this tragic heroine, who is unable to reconcile the past and the present, and who she is, with the part that society demands that she plays.
Hedda is never able to cope with reality and the fact that she cannot control the actions of others. Thus, she commits suicide because she wants "for once in her life to have power to mould a human destiny." She wants to die "beautifully."