Discuss the theme of truth and lies in The Wild Duck.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Truth and lies is a complicated theme in Ibsen's The Wild Duck. For instance, Gina Ekdal is living in a lie because she has never told Hjelmar Ekdal, her husband, that there may be some confusion as to Hedvig's paternity: Hedvig's father could be Hakon Werle or Hjelmar Ekdal. However, Gina is living in a wonderful truth because she adores her daughter and wholeheartedly loves her husband whom she protects with tender care. Gina in truth is happy and her family is happy, as separate individuals and as a unit.

Another example of truth and lies considers Gregars Werle. Gregars knows the truth about Hedvig's doubtful paternity and is determined that freedom and happiness require him to enlighten Hjelmar Ekdal as to the dubious nature of his paternity. Gregars is living in the truth. Yet, Gregars is living in a horrible lie because he believes everyone will glad to have the truth come out to dispel what he believes must be an oppressive burden of lies. His life of lies ruins the happiness of the family and causes Hedvig to take her life.

shahbaz1036's profile pic

shahbaz1036 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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the play exhibits the reader about the impotance of truth and lie. ibsen has revealed those hidden aspects of life which we usually don't consider. truth can be a harmful and lie can become as the 'saving lie'. personality of gregers has been diplayed as a personality with no wisdom to inetrpret other's or no understanding about the situation, as he misjudges the sitaution and ruins all. this claim of ibsen about 'truth and lie' is fully applicable in our lives and one can consider it as an apt reality. we all live in illusions and sometime decieve ourselves. in one way this looks like fool argument but on the other side its as realsim of life. this theme 'truth and lie' also relates to 'ibsen's style of realsim' in the play.

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