The Wild Duck Questions and Answers
by Henrik Ibsen

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

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although the duck is technically wild, it has become Hedvig's pet and lives at her family's home. While out hunting, Gregers's father, Hakon, who has poor eyesight, injured its wing instead of killing the ducj, which later was given to the teenage girl. Through the course of the play, Hedvig is losing her eyesight and feels increasingly isolated and lonely. In that respect, Hedvig is presented as similar to the duck because both have physical disabilities.

In addition, Hedvig is confined in a setting she has not chosen, a situation worsened by her father's rejection. She believes she can comply with the demands of adult society, represented by Gregers's idea that she prove her love for her father by getting rid of the duck. Ultimately, she proves unable to do so. The wildness in her is untamable. Rather than sacrifice the duck, she sacrifices herself. In the last regard, she differs from the duck because she can choose her fate.

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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.

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