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The Wild Duck [Kindle Edition]

Henrik Ibsen , Frances E. Archer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Henrik Ibsen's 1884 drama, "The Wild Duck", is the story of Gregers Werle, an idealist who returns to his hometown after some absence. While there he begins to meddle in the affairs of the Ekdals, an odd family that have constructed a strange way of living by ignoring the skeletons in their respective closets. The Ekdals escape the reality of their existence by the construction of various delusional fantasies. Gregers, who believes that the pursuit of the ideal demands the exposition of absolute truth, summons the Ekdals to expose for themselves the truth that is hiding behind the facade of their lies. In so doing, a tragic unraveling of the very fabric of the Ekdals lives occurs in classic Ibsen fashion.

Editorial Reviews


My heart started breaking at 9:45 last night, a little more than two hours into Great Lakes Theater Festival's THE WILD DUCK, breaking for a once-happy family sucked down into the depths. It may take a while to get there as Ibsen marches deliberately and unswervingly toward the precipice, but your heart too is in for an exhausting but enlightening workout... Written in 1884, this Norwegian masterpiece could hardly be more at home in the United States in 2000. It is a play about destructively false idealism that leads to self-righteous campaigns against human foibles. It could easily be about Kenneth Starr. Translator and adaptor Anthony Clarvoe [has] chosen to update the language and to set the play in the Cleveland of today.... Except for the Americanization of names and a few almost invisible trims, Clarvoe's is a remarkably faithful update. --Tony Brown, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian

Product Details

  • File Size: 349 KB
  • Print Length: 118 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1420930850
  • Publisher: Neeland Media LLC; 2nd edition (December 10, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030F1AQU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,257 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wild Duck We Know September 12, 2000
By A Customer
Many find Ibsen difficult to understand. I certainly did. However, by reading The Wild Duck, I was introduced to an entire new world of symbolism and creative writing. Like the master he was, Ibsen paints a portrait of a family, representing all of us, living on a lie. Cruelty in our midst, innocent victimes and pragmatists losing to the vindictive, it's all there. The touches of comedy and tragedy just increase the impression that it does concern us, that really, he's looked into our lives and seen our lies, although hopefully in a less extreme version. And don't we all know a Hedvig, a Gina, a Hjalmar and a Gregers? Maybe there's something of the all in all of us... The book sucks you in, creeps under your skin and stays there, along with the horror, the anger and the sympathy you feel while reading. In my opinion, one of the best examples of Ibsen's less romantic period of writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must people tell themselves lies in order to live? November 1, 2009
The Ekdals - Hjalmar, his wife Gina, and their daughter Hedvig live a decent life. It has it's frustrations but they get by and they care for each other. One day an old friend of Hjalmar's, Gregers Werle, shows up. He's learned some family history, and, being an idealist, as someone who thinks truth should reign at all costs, he turns the Ekdal's world upside-down. How this little family deals with this news is the crux of the play.

It's a provacative read. It may seem slow at first but it picks up considerably and moves along swiftly towards the end. The characters are well drawn, that is, they're recognizable. They have their personal idiosyncrasies, their faults and virtues and ideals. I was impressed by how much they reminded me of people in my own life.

There are many ideas to play with when reading this. Is it possible to live a life completely free of self-delusion? Do we all tell ourselves lies in order to live? I would call it a play of ideas but that might make it sound didactic or doctrinaire, which it isn't (to me anyway, I think some people disagree).

I've read a fair sample of Ibsens work and I think this is the best of the bunch.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is there a hialmar ekdal fan club? December 5, 1998
By A Customer
Ibsen's philosophical "message" in this play disturbs me. I don't think I agree with Dr. Relling that each of us needs his own brand of self-deception to cope with life. Certainly Hialmar Ekdal is content enough, and hilariously funny as an lazy fool who thinks he's a creative genius in photograhy, a breadwinner to his wife and daughter, and a martyr to his father's scandalous past. Alas, his friend Gregers Werl points the way to the truth, that Hialmar is deceived about everything in his life. It would all be comical but for the fact that Hialmar's daugher Hedvig, who is probably not his daugther at all, shoots herself as proof of her love for Hialmar. So, Ibsen seems to say, here the truth has cost a young girl's life, an unbearable tragedy but for the fact that she was going blind. Well, no doubt there is cost in knowing the truth about oneself and about others, no doubt there are things we prefer not to know, and no doubt there are people like Hialmar who are impervious to truth. But there are also people like Hialmar's wife Gina, and Dr. Relling himself, who know the truth and who hold up nobly and well. For at least these, I think Ibsen should recommend truth in large doses, and perhaps he does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are so many layers in this tragic play! June 11, 2006
This is a very complex play although it seems simplistic at first. There were a lot of changes going on in society when Ibsen wrote this play in 1884 And not everyone was adapting to these changes. Some still tried to cling to the old way of doing things, and others were trying to force changes within their own sphere. (Is that so different than now?) Anyway, Ibsen portrays these varying degrees of acceptance with his characters in this play. And he does a masterful job of it. How can so much be depicted about the heartache and pathos of the human psyche within the limits of a five-act play? That is Ibsen/s genius.
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