The Wild Duck

  • F. B. Pinion


Ibsen’s wild duck, after being wounded, dives down and holds fast to the weeds at the muddy bottom of the water, only to be brought to the surface by a dog and kept in an attic. Its natural refuge represents the world of romantic illusions in which Hjalmar Ekdal lives until he is ‘rescued’ by Gregers Werle, who shatters his happiness by revealing the sordid truth behind his marriage. Hardy’s wild duck is not taken from its natural element; once there, it evades the predatory hawk or buzzard with dextrous energy, ‘unaccountably emerging from opposite sides of the pool in succession, and bobbing again by the time its adversary reached its place’. It is too experienced for its assailant, which tires and flies off in almost perceptible dudgeon.


Muddy Bottom Wild Duck Paradise Lost Society Friend Natural Refuge 
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  1. 4.
    See Robert Gittings, The Young Hardy (London, 1975), pp. 113, 119, 207Google Scholar
  2. and his edition of The Hand of Ethelberta (paperback ed., London, 1975), p. 27 (or hardback, 1976), p. 26Google Scholar

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© F. B. Pinion 1977

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  • F. B. Pinion

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