Overview

Wild Duck


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A: Henrik Ibsen Pf: 1885, Bergen Pb: 1884 Tr: 1890 G: Drama in 5 acts; Norwegian prose S: Werle's and Ekdal's homes, Norway, 1880s C: 12m, 3f, extrasHjalmar Ekdal has a small photographic studio, bought for him by the rich merchant Werle, whose housekeeper Gina Hjalmar has married. An old friend, Werle's son Gregers, returns home and soon suspects that his father was involved in the crime that ruined Hjalmar's family and that Gina had been his father's mistress. Gregers resolves to tell Hjalmar the truth about his situation, so that Hjalmar, an indolent character who claims to be working on a spurious invention but prefers to hunt rabbits in a little wood he has created in the loft, will no longer live a lie. When Hjalmar hears the truth, however, far from embarking on a new relationship of trust with Gina, he rejects her and his devoted 14-year-old daughter Hedvig, whom he now suspects to be Werle's child. Too lazy to be decisive, Hjalmar does not actually leave home. Gregers urges Hedvig to sacrifice a pet duck to show her love for her father, but instead she shoots herself.

A: Henrik Ibsen Pf: 1885, Bergen Pb: 1884 Tr: 1890 G: Drama in 5 acts; Norwegian prose S: Werle's and Ekdal's homes, Norway, 1880s C: 12m, 3f, extras

Frequently concerned to attack the ‘life-lie’ on which so many lives are built, Ibsen here with unflinching honesty, considers what may happen to those not able to confront the truth. Gregers is an unrepentant idealist, and therefore highly dangerous, a less mythical version of Brand. The extraordinary loft with its simulated woodland and wild life, though justified in terms of realist theatre, points forwards to a more symbolic treatment of the stage towards which Ibsen was tending in his later years.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


Reference entries
Authors

Henrik Ibsen (1828—1906) Norwegian dramatist


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.