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The Wild Duck

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,639 ratings  ·  192 reviews
David Eldridge's new version of Ibsen's classic, published to tie-in with the production at the Donmar Warehouse, London.

Should the truth be pursued whatever the cost? The idealistic son of a wealthy businessman seeks to expose his father's duplicity and to free his childhood friend from the lies on which his happy home life is based.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 8th 2005 by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama (first published 1884)
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3.79  · 
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 ·  5,639 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Vildanden = The Wild Duck, Henrik Ibsen
The Wild Duck an 1884 play, by the Norwegian playwright: Henrik Ibsen. Characters: Håkon Werle, a wholesale merchant; Gregers Werle, his son; Old Ekdal, the former business partner of Håkon Werle; Hjalmar Ekdal, Old Ekdal's son, a photographer; Gina Ekdal, his wife; Hedvig, their daughter, aged fourteen; Mrs. Sørby, housekeeper and fiancee of Håkon Werle; Relling, a doctor, lives below the Ekdals; Molvik, formerly a student of theology, lives below the Ekda
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: a lonely man doesn't laugh so easily
Recommended to Mariel by: William Gaddis and Thomas Bernhard
If he loves The Wild Duck and he wishes he had written it, he wants to be Ibsen for just that moment, and dedicate his play to someone who's been kind to him, is that lying? It isn't as bad as people doing work they have no respect for at all. Everybody has that feeling when they look at a work of art and it's right, that sudden familiarity, a sort of... recognition, as though they were creating it themselves, as though it were being created through them while they look at it or listen to it and
Safa Fatima
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The Wild Duck was so much more than I thought it would be, it was all I could want, hope for in a play. It marked the beginning of a new era in Ibsen's work. In my edition, the introduction was a discussion into Ibsen's work signifying a change in his style, thinking and his ideals. I loved reading the introduction because I love such things but I also cannot help dozing off at these things, the play took me a day, the Introduction a few. I was not reading it every day, continuously, because of ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: norway, theatre
Much darker than the other play I read by him, The Doll's House. The main questions in this play are: how far should one go in pursuit of the truth and how much should somebody interfere with someone else's life in order to "save that person'. I thought the ending was the only way this play could have ended.
Sheikha Alhilaly

Interesting play. All too familiar if you're into Khaliji soap operas. The dialogue got a bit too awkward towards the end.
From BBC radio 3 -Drama on 3:
David Threlfall, Samuel West and James Fox star in Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece - as strong on comedy as profound, tragic drama. A family creates an imaginary forest in their loft room for a wounded wild duck. But will someone come to shatter their dreams?

Translated and adapted by Christopher Hampton

Hjalmar ..... David Threlfall
Gregers ..... Samuel West
Werle ..... James Fox
Gina ..... Lise-Ann McLaughlin
Hedvig ..... Lauren Cornelius
Ekdal ..... Clive Hayward
Relling .....
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this work, and I'm not quite sure that I am able to write a very thoughtful review at this time, but I'll attempt it. I read this just after finishing A Doll's House, which was my first encounter with Ibsen, and one that I enjoyed very much. This work is much darker in tone and it is perhaps because it rattled me so much with its tragic ending that I lean more toward giving it 4 stars rather than 5 -- but then I also think that for the work to have so affe ...more
Ericpegnam Pegnam
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The most poetic of Ibsen's prose plays and I think his masterpiece in that form. It makes me wish I could read Norwegian because there is likely more there than one can understand through english translation. Its beautifully structured play filled with subtle details. This is one of Ibsen's least didatic plays and it is important not confuse Ibsen's point of view with what his characters say.

What's most amazing is how Ibsen suggests the innerworkings of individuals families and their friends and
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly beautiful play. I had no idea Ibsen had such range as a writer. I thought all he wrote about was scandal, suicide and S.T.D.s. in big bold capital letters. I thought he was all booming thunder like a Wagnerian opera and here we get the dazzling lightness of a Mozart sonata. This play is full of sadness and loss but it also has humor and ultimately forgiveness. It is now one of my favorite plays ever.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
What did I just read O.o
Ericka Clouther
Oh boy, Ibsen is dark. This one was too dark for me- everyone is the worst.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, read-2015
Do people such as Gregers still exist? Can anyone be naïve enough to think that the unvarnished truth is always better then misconception? I have always thought that there is a time and place for the truth and a time to just let it go. In the case this play portrays, I have a hard time thinking that any of these secrets were Gregers to tell and think he was being willfully naïve in order to get back at his own father. I can’t see him as an idealist man but rather as an extremely selfish one. Ver ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this play in Norwegian.
I thought this was a good play by Ibsen; however, I did not love it quite as much as the other plays I have read by him. The main question in the play is how far should we go in the pursuit of truth. Gregers Werle truly believes that the foundation to any life should be based on truth, and when he comes back to Oslo it becomes apparent that the lives of his dear friends (Hjalmar) family is based on anything but. I suppose what motivated Gregers to seek the truth in
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
"It's dangerous work that. Bad things come of it. The woods revenge themselves."
3.5 stars.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this play out loud with Catherine, although she called many of the major twists. The characters are at once unlikable and likable.
Nurhan El-Badawy
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, another collage recommendation, ehhhh!!
However, I read it wearily, this play hits an important point. It really cares about "Ordinary People" who want to live life as it is without any mess or change that may turn it upside down.
"Take the saving lie from an average man, and you take his happiness away, too"
Briefly, Stable life for Hjalmar was the saving lie; when Gregers disclosed the truth of Gena, everything went wrong."
Hjalmar is a weak-character that can not face the reality so he li
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ibsen's best and 1 of the greatest plays of all time, in which Ibsen most successfully and poignantly explores his grand theme of the conflict between an absolute morality laid down by scripture and the damage such inflexible morals inflict on good, but human people, who have made a mistake in their youth, gone on to build decent lives and then have everything self-destruct on them, when their old sin comes to light...
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the books one should consider to read. The story is circulating around the ideas of idealism versus realism. It displays a scenario of the battle of life.
Aase Maren
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I watched the play for a project in 10th grade and I absolutely loved it. Definitely a book you read multiple times to fully understand everything.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ibsen’s practical morality condemns the Greger Werles of the world. Greger is well intentioned in that self-righteous way. He does not truck with dishonesty and seeks to prevent others living with their comfortable lies. The lies that people tell themselves so they may continue the narratives they have constructed for themselves. Lies that let couples live in harmony, let people live at peace with their wrongs, and let us believe we can still be what we dream to be. But Greger, feeling noble, ta ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
How much does a dream sustain a life? Will one make use of that dream at any cost even if it is largely a lie?

The Wild Duck explores through five acts the bond between the dreamworld and life's joy or pain. The play opens at a dinner party hosted by Hakon Werle at which his son Gregers Werle makes his return home after a long absence. The Werles are closely tied with the fortunes of Hjalmar Ekdal, a past classmate of Gregers, and of Gina who was once employed as their housekeeper. Gregers is an
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This play makes one think about truth-telling, how it can be used for good or ill, and how good intentions can very well end in bad results. While being honest is recognized as a morally good thing in general, one's motivations behind telling the truth and realistic expectations of likely consequences do matter when trying to judge whether or not it is a good thing to do in particular situations.

The wild duck, though silent, is in a way the most important character in the play. Apparently they h
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal work, and one of the most touching things I've ever read.

I guess it boils down to the question of how much is the truth worth to people who are not capable of handling the truth. Gregers is a kind of idealist, always thinking that the truth will set things free so to speak, while the doctor Relling (who isn't exactly a main character but whose influence on all of the other characters and therefore the entire essence of the play is made very obvious near the end of the play) has the
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while staying at the coast of Ecuador, in small town, where you could not buy bread anywhere. But at the place where I stayed there were books - among them , the "Wild Duck",
and there is one scene in this book, when Hedvig asks her (step)father if he has brought her a cake from a meeting, or at least bread, bread with butter - I do not remember the exact words, but it was definitely the best bread I have ever - not - had, the best bread one can imagine - double virtually, but i
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
The Wild Duck is a bit heavy handed with the metaphor of this duck, but this play's tragedy is real and terrible. Almost like the flip side of Ibsen's earlier plays where people can only live in truth with all their cards on the table. This time, the truth does nothing but turn people's lives into misery and tragedy.
Andreea H
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely my favorite play of Ibsen's so far. I really like the way Ibsen builds his characters and how he uses the symbol of the wild duck so that it relates to so many characters. I don't think I can say something smarter about this play because it was too good to express in words.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I knew from the very beginning of the play that one character was represented by the wild duck, and I knew how the play would end for that character, so I wasn't shocked by the ending. But I was saddened by who the wild duck turned out to be.
Samantha Funk
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Another required book for my theatre history course. I like Ibsen, well, some of Ibsen. I was just sort of bored because the climax and the resolution didn't happen until the end.

I guess I am a _theatre hater_ and a _theatre lover_ but fight me.

It was fine. I am tired of reading plays.
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Public Play House: Wild Duck 5 13 Aug 27, 2013 10:04AM  

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Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian valu
“Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.” 38 likes
“Men are funny characters, they must always have something to bemuse them.” 7 likes
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