The most salient themes explored in Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck are seen in the two methods of searching for truth portrayed in the play: Gregers Werle's idealistic vision that each individual "must bring itself into the light" versus the more empirically realistic notions that oppose his idealism as the mere "delirium of hero-worship." In this realistic approach to the world as it is, not as we wish it to be, Gregers's idealism is seen as a medical and psychological disorder, not a worthy goal for which to strive.
This theme of the search for truth is explored in the the married characters of Hjalmar Ekdal and his wife, Gina. Hjalmar is a photographer set up in business by his friend Gregers's father after the elder Werle had taken advantage of Hjalmar's father in business dealings. Hjalmar is handsome and clever, one who exercises his wit by "declaiming verses" and is thought by many of his set to be "a great light of the future." Opposed to her husband's lack of seriousness is Gina's economic practicality in running their household.