The Wild Duck Literary Elements

The Wild Duck Literary Elements


A play, drama



Setting and Context

Due to the peculiarities of the genre, the events of the story develop rapidly. The first act passes in Werle’s house, the remaining acts at Hjalmar Ekdal’s. Approximate time is 1880s.

Narrator and Point of View

There are the first-person narrator and the first point of view. Every character speaks on his/her behalf.

Tone and Mood

Tone is often surprised, unsettling or even accusing, more often than not it is tragicomic, while mood is mysterious.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Gregers Werle is both a protagonist and an antagonist, for he is a main character of the play, who wants to obtain justice, but his initially positive intentions manage to ruin other people’s lives and his one too. However, it wouldn’t be a mistake to say that one of the secondary characters, Hedvig, is the true protagonist of the play and Gregers is the antagonist.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is man vs. man. After a long period of time spent away from his home and his father, Gregers returns home. He doesn’t do this, because he misses his father. His main goal is to avenge his father, for he is sure that he is one to blame for his mother’s illness and then death. One more conflict is man vs. self, for Hedvig prefers to kill herself than to live with her father’s hostility.


Hedvig’s successful suicide attempt is the climax of the story.


When Gregers says that he is going to be like “a dog”, it becomes clear that he is going to dig into the past.




Heidal or Hoidal, a valley in the country of Oppland, Norway.


Imagery is not widely used. However, the author gives a description of the surroundings – rooms, appearances – for this play is supposed to be staged.


Ekdal. I know, I know – h’m! Thanks, Pettersen, good old friend! Thanks! (Mutters softly.) Ass!
A good old friend and an ass used together create a paradox.


Oh, all sorts of people. There was Chamberlain Flor, and Chamberlain Balle, and Chamberlain Kaspersen, and Chamberlain – this, that, and the other – I don’t know who all –
“This, that, and the other” create parallelism.


The ball has entered the breast.

Use of Dramatic Devices


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