The Wild Duck Characters

The Wild Duck Character List

Hjalmar Ekdal

Hjalmar Ekdal is one of the main characters in the play. He is Elder Ekdal’s son and after his father was financially ruined, he became a photographer and married a woman with whom he has a daughter. Hjalmar is not presented in a positive light in the play. He is a photographer, but his wife works in his place while Hjalmar spends his time dreaming. Hjalmar wants to give the impression of a well-educated and hardworking man but in reality is nothing like that. Hjalmar loves Hedvig very much and his tendency to worry and think about the future shows that he is interested in his family’s future. Hjalmer is interested and preoccupied with the way the others think about him and often lies to make himself appear more interesting.

Senior Ekdal

Senior Ekdal is Hjalmar’s father and a former business partner of Werle’s. After their bussines went wrong, Ekdal lost everything and spent time in prison. When he was released, he began living with his son and with his family. Senior Ekdal is a man plagued with regrets and resentments who blames Werle for his failures. In many ways, Senior Ekdal is a wild duck. He was wounded but instead of killing himself, something that many believed he should have done, decided to live and now was forced to live in captivity, to live while regretting his past. Ekdal lives in his son’s attic where he ‘hunts’ for rabbits and other animals. The attic represents for Senior Ekdal the only place where he can live without feeling judged by those around him.

Gina Ekdal

Gina is Hjamlar’s wife and Hedvi’s mother. Gina used to work for Grosserer Werle and it is implied that they had a sexual relationship and that maybe Hjalmar was not Hedvig’s father. Gina is very understanding and lets Hjalmar live the way he wants to. She is the one who works, taking pictures and editing them and thus she is associated with the idea of altering the reality and hiding the truth.

Hedvig Ekdal

Hedvig is Gina’s daughter and presumably Grosserer Werle’s daughter. Hedvig is a tragic character, an only child forced to live inside her home because of her illness. Ignored by her parents and without children of her age around her, she gets attached to the wild duck in their attic. The wild duck becomes her friend and Hedvig confines and loves the duck more than anything. However, her attachement to the duck is not as strong as her desire to prove Hjalmar that she loves him so she decides to prove to him that she loves him but killing the duck. The play ends when Hedvig kills herself instead of the duck. Just like Senior Ekdal, Hedvig is a wild duck, wounded and a prisoner of her own home. For her, the only way she can be free is through death.

Grosserer Werle

Grosserer Werle is Gregers Werle’s father, a former tradesman and business partner with Senior Ekdal. He was a ruthless man, cold and interested only in financial gain but who changed in time. Just like Hedvig, he has eye problems that limit him from doing what he wants. His illness is what made him think seriously about his life and think about his priorities.

Miss Sørby

Miss Sørby is a housekeeper working for the Werle family.

Dr. Rollig

Dr. Rollig leaves nearby the Ekdal family and is really close to them. It is hinted that he may be a homosexual but it is not clearly stated. Dr. Rollig spends much of his time drunk but despite this he is a wise man.

Gregers Werle

Gregers Werle is Grossere’s son who feels obligated to try and undo the damage his father has done. Gregers sees himself as being a dog able to save a wounded duck but doesn’t realize that he can do more harm than good. Gregers believes that truth will help the Ekdal family live more happily but what he doesn’t realize is that the Ekdal family is happy while living in a lie.

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