What is the relationship between Hedvig and the wild duck in Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Henrik Ibsen's play, The Wild Duck, there is an extremely close relationship between the fourteen year old daughter Hedvig Ekdal and the wild duck of the title. On the most simple and literal level, the wild duck is a pet that Hedvig has tamed and loves very deeply. When she offers to shoot the duck, she is offering up as a sacrifice to her family the thing that means the most to her in the world. On a symbolic level, Hedvig, with her own sensitivity, spirituality, and connection to nature is herself a sort of wild duck and the ultimate sacrifice of the play.