Discuss the picture of male-female relationship in The Wild Duck.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between Gina Ekdal and Hjelmar Ekdal in Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck is reminiscent of the relationship between Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer in Ibsen's A Doll's House. Both women have enormous secrets from their husbands and both women work behind the scenes to create happy lives for their families. Further, Gina protects Hjelmar just like Nora protects Torvald. There the comparison begins to break down, nonetheless it is a significant one. Gina truly loves Hjelmar and their family, despite life's difficulties, is happy.

The similarity again arises at the climax when Hjelmar is told the truth about his daughter's doubtful parentage and, just like Torvald, rejects his wife and sees her identity as that of a stranger. Ibsen explores the impact of the origin of happiness, the development and fragility of identity, the role of secrecy and deception in male-female relationship. The weight of evidence comes down in favor of women being the foundation of the relationship until bad news breaks. Then, the male is the unequivocal arbitrator of the meaning and ultimate outcome of the relationship.