The Wild Duck Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Wild Duck Symbols, Allegory and Motifs


In the first act, the room where Werle holds his party is described in terms suggesting light and happiness. The room in the Werle’s home is the opposite of the attic in which Senior Ekdal and Hedvig spend their time and the place where they feel safe. The room in Werle’s home and the attic in Ekdal’s home represent the families and their status in society. The rooms in their homes are representations of themselves and their social status and because of this, the rooms serve a symbolic purpose and have a symbolic meaning.


Gina and Hjalmar are both photographs and work together to sustain themselves and their family. But their profession is also symbolic because it is linked with the idea of altering the reality in which a person lives in. in many ways, Gina and Hjalmar edit their realities as well, choosing to live sheltered from the outside world and content with accepting the lie they built around themselves as being something real. Because of this, their profession is a symbol for their willingness to lie to themselves just in order to feel comfortable with the life they have.

Unlucky number

In the first act, Hjalmar goes to a party hosted by the Werle family. When Hjalmar arrives there, he finds that he is the thirteenth to arrive which makes him feel like something bad is going to happen. This feeling persists throughout the play and becomes a recurrent motif. Hjalmar will continue to feel like doom is hanging over his head for the rest of the play.

The Wild Duck

The wild duck is the most import symbol in the play. It can almost be said that the wild duck is one of the main characters in the play because of the important role it plays. The wild duck is a symbol for both Hedvig and Senior Ekdal and it symbolizes the characters that are hurt and forced to live in a certain way because of this. The wild duck is the symbol around which the play is built around and while there exists an actual wild duck in the play, the symbolic ones are much more important than the actual duck living in Ekdal’s attic.


Another motif found in the play is the idea that many characters live inside a lie, inside an illusion they created for themselves over the years. They lie to themselves, hoping that one day their life will change and that they will live happily and without any worry. Those characters don’t realize that what they want is impossible so when another character tries to make them see the light, they become frustrated and reluctant to accept being helped.

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