The Wild Duck Study Guide

The Wild Duck Study Guide

Original title:

The Wild Duck is a play by Henrik Ibsen that is considered the first modern example of tragicomedy. It, as his another play, The Enemy of the People, tells us the story about an idealist, who believes that absolute truth is an absolute good. He comes to the family of his former classmate to reveal the truth to everyone and take all the skeletons out of the closets. He is sincerely surprised seeing that no one in the family can handle the truth. Gregers considers living in a “life-lie” - an idea that substitutes the reality - disgusting, but by destroying these ideas he effectively destroys everything that let the people live together and accept the world.

The wild duck is hidden in the attic by the youngest member of the family, Hedwig, the daughter of Hjalmar, and possibly the offspring of an affair. Hedwig’s escape from reality is the most innocent: unable to bear the tension and the unhealthy atmosphere in her home, she spends her time with a sick bird, pretending to live with her in a make-believe forest. The bitter irony is that Hedwig and her duck are the scapegoats of the family. Hjalmar, now not sure that she is his daughter, grows cold to her and Hedwig, desperately trying to please her father and not knowing the reason of his anger, decides to kill the duck he wanted to kill before.

The play sarcastically shows the idealism without any humanity. Gregers believes that truth is above all, and he never takes responsibility for the sufferings of Hedwig. He sincerely considers that everyone has to be grateful to him for releasing them from lies. But we see his actions as not much kinder than of the rest of the characters. Gregers may seem himself as a paladin, but he is as egoistic as any other in the play: he wants the truth to prevail at any cost, even if the way he presents this truth will disrupt the lives of all the people involved.

New Essays

The Wild Duck

The wild Duck 1885 is one of the most famous plays of Henrik Ibsen. It seemed to contradict one of the principal doctrines, which Ibsen had been preaching: the importance of ideals and the sin of compromise. The major theme of the play is realism vs. idealism. From the very first act, the...

Tuckean Swamp issues

This report Is discussing the Issues and health of the Tuckers swamp, due to human activity and the effect of acid sulfate soils on ecosystems. The Tuckers Swamp is found skim's south west of Balling, situated on the lower Richmond River within the Northern Rivers of new south Wales. The swamp use...

The Wild Duck Quotes with Page Number

“Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.” — Page 44 — “Men are funny characters, they must always have something to bemuse them.” — — “Because there is surely nothing in the world that can compare with happiness of forgiveness and of lifting...

Wild Duck Symbols

Light/dark Materialized by the play of shadow and light in the mysterious garret, the opposition light/dark and its permutations provide the central motifs of the play. These motifs include: sight and blindness, ideal and vulgar, truth and lie. We should note its significance to Gregers's cause in...

See all essays