What represents freedom in The Wild Duck, and who needs and who feels they can give freedom?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen the idea of freedom is ironically best symbolized by the duck. Ibsen constructed The Wild Duck, which ushered in his symbolic era after making a success on social issue plays (e.g., The Doll's House), in such a way that the duck symbolizes many things and different things to different characters (e.g., to Old Ekdal, the duck represents a free life in the wild while for Hedvig it represents her lie-poisoned family). The duck represents freedom because it lost its freedom to Hakon's shot but then was saved by Hakon's dog, thus gaining the freedom of redeemed life. Gregers believes he can give freedom to the whole family, including Old Ekdal, Hedvig and Hjalmar.