tv Deutsche Welle Journal LINKTV September 10, 2013 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
the py for this program the ld duck by henrik ibsen. now, youhost, mr. jose ferre henrik ibsen, the author of the wild duck, wacalled idealist, skeptic, reformer, even pornographer. audiences of the 1880s were shocked by topics which well-bred people avoided. in an age which prized gentility, ibsen was scandalously provocative. he would not allow the appearance of respectability to conceal truth. at the same time, he recognized the danger of such revelations. a few years before the wild duck was written, he had aroused so much public hostility against the frankness of his play ghosts that he was labele an enemy of the people. upon reflection, he turned that accusation against himself into the title of still another play. the wild duck, some of the most severe attacks
are directed against the so-called idealists. though ibsen's subjects-- contemporary corruption in clergy and business, sexual inequality, prudishness another victorian unmentionables-- were considered dangerous, his method of presentation was conventional. he used melodramatic devices, usually making quite explicit the division between good characters and bad. to make deceptively simple-looking plays, he wrote what was called the well-made play, that is, a play so carefully constructed that almost every line and object turned out to have some important use in a latter part of the play. it was said that if the heroine of a well-made play coughs in the first act, she will surely die of tuberculosis by the end. if a gun is handled, it will surely be used. there are no casual deliveries of mail. a letter will bring joy to some, destruction to others.
no one will merely observe the beauty of a piece of jewelry. it will surely turn up later as part of someone's effort to conceal the past. ibsen's audiences love such revelations in which it is shown that things are not what they seem to be. the baby is the child of someone else. the poor man has unexpectedly inherited a fortune. surprises abound as, for instance, when a legal document is suddenly flourished, astounding all present. the wild duck contains such a document and revelations. throughout the play, the secrets of the past impinge on the present. ibsen's audiences were prepared for revelations but not for the penetrating vision of a playwright who insisted on asking embarrassingly profound questions. the wild dk, like mosofhe plays of henrik ibsen, takes place in the room of a house, an ordinary room, inhabited by an ordinary family,
hjalmar ekdal, his wife, gina, and the 12-year-old daughter, hedvig. the fact that these are the main characters does not seem strange to modern audiences who are accustomed to many plays and even television drama based on the family. in a room looking like this, there can be any number of subjects for play, ranging from the most trivial domestic item to a serious marital conflict with perhaps young hedvig acting as peacemaker. we can expect to hear about money and meals, arrivals and departures, perhaps even an outsider who upsets temporarily the tranquility of the room. as we concentrate on the setting, we think of all the things which would not appropriathere: the confrontation of a great king
and the requirements of olympian gods, a brooding soliloquy with impassioned verse, questioning the purpose of life, a duel between captains of rival armies, the witty dialogue of the idle rich, great diplomatic decisions, whimsical fantasy, a musical comedy. it would also be possible to show a detective story or domestic drama light and predictable. but would it be possible to use such a setting and ordinary-looking people to deal with profound issues? would it be possible, for instance, to investigate marriage as an institution, the corruption of the clergy, devious business practices, prudishness, deceit? ibsen thought so. and in some of his most important plays, he did so.
the issues are presented in a realistic sense. ibsen provides these believable details even at the most crucial moments of the play. whereas in older drama, the setting needed merely to be suggested because interest was focused on magnificent language, in realistic drama, people are accounted for in places throughout the house. the use of details around a table can assume large significance, indeed. in one scene, for instance, hjalmar has announced that he is so upset he won't even eat. ...and some bread and some cold meat. meat? never again under this roof. i don't care if i haven't had a bite for 24 hours. in his managemt of these little details, in speech after speech and in the use of household objects, ibsen lets the audience know the main traits of each character.
ibsen limited himself to the things people could actually say to each other in this room. the table takes on vital significance. much of the dialogue is concerned with eating and drinking. conventionally, it is the wife, gina, who is most concerned. gina seems to be constantly putting out food and cleangp. her responsibilities involve tending to not only her immediate family but also the boarders whose rent supplements their income. the boarders include dr. relling, molvik, who frequently drinks too much, and the most recent addition, a man named gregers werle, son of the man who had once been gina's employer. as they sit around the table, the men talk of truth, ideals,
vision, ambition. dutifully, the mother and daughter do the daily sks. hedvig's eyes are dim. she must wear glasses at all times. despite the affliction, she, like her mother, helps hjalmar to earn a living by retouching the photographs her father takes in his home studio. ibsen is able to make history co to life around this table. he can deal with a significant theme within the connes of this room where his characters can develop the story through ersation. but ibsen is clearly interested in doing more than provide us with character sketches of some interesting members of a victorian household. the wild duck, he is aiming for the exploration of truth itself. in the wild duc the idlist is gregers wee,
determined to force his old friend hjalmar to face up to the truth about his wife and family. gregers is the son of a wealthy man. however, in an earer scene, he rejects his father's wealth and any association with his father's business. gregers' father had cheated hjalmar's father, old ekdal, years ago in a shady deal for which old ekdal took the blame. and grers' father had apparently had a romanc affair with the very gina who is now such a devoted wife to hjalmar. there is the possibility that hedvig's poor eyesight may have been inherited from her actual father if werle is indeed her father. the ld duckdes with certain questions. should the truth be told? can the family endure truth,
or must they continue to live according to the life lie which the doctor maintains most people require? ibsen might have stopped there with an interesting play about people the audience would learn to understand, but he wanted more, a larger theme. and for that, he needed a symbol, the wild duck of the play title. he allows for the realistic use of the creature by making it part of a menagerie living in an attic within the ekdal house apparently, hjalmar's father was once a man able to indulge his hobby of hunting in the forest. now his hunting is confined to shooting tame animals in this llection of which the duck is a prize. the way ibsen transforms this creature into a meaningful symbol will be evident as you watch the play.
well, father, now, we're alone. gregers, i don't think there's any man in the world you hate as much as me. i've seen you at too close quarters. you have seen me with your mother's eyes. but you mustn't forget, those eyes were clouded now and again. but who bears the blame for my mother's unhappy disability? it's you and all these-- the last of them was this female you palmed off ohjalmar ekdal when you no longer-- word for word, as though i were listening to your mother. now here he is, so tremendously trusting an innocent in the midst of deceit, living under the same roof as a woman like that not knowing that what he calls his home is built on a lie. when i look backeverythi you've don it's athough i have look out ov a batefld strewnith shattered live since you've now moved in with the ekdals, i can only assume that you have in mind something agait me.
what i have in mind is to open hjalmar ekdal's eyes. he shall see the situation as it is, that's all. is this the life's work you were talking about yesterday? yes. you haven't left me any other. is it my fault that your ideas are all mixed up, gregers? you've messed up my whole life. and i'm t only thinking of t business with mother, but it's thanks to you that i now suffer the torment of a desperately guilty conscience. your conscience has gone a bit queer, eh? i should have stood up to you at the time the trap was laid for lieutenant ekdal. i should have warned him. i had a pretty fair idea then how things would work out in the end. yes, you really should have spoken out en. i didn'tare. i was scared, too much of a coward. can't tell you how frightened i was of you then and for a long time after too. it would seem that fear has passed now. yes, fortunately, it has. the harm that's been done old ekdal,
both by me and by others, could never be put right, but what i can do now is free hjalmar from the lies and deceit that are causing his ruination. in that case, i might save myself a journey. there's no use asking you if you'll come home again? no. and you won't come into the firm either? no. very well. as i now intend to marry again, the estate will be divided between us. no, i don't want that. you don't want that? no. conscience wouldn't let are you going back up to the works again? no, i rega myself as having left your service. oh, what are you going to do now? i shall fulfill my mission. that's all. but what will you do afterwards? what will you live on? i've saved a bit out of my pay. but how long will that last? i think it will last my time out. what do you mean by that?
i'm not answering any more questions. goodbye then, gregers. goodbye. has he gone? yes. that's put paid to that lunch. put your things on, hjalmar. you're coming for a long walk with me. with pleasure. what did your father want? anything to do with me? just come with me. we must have a little talk. i'll go and get my coat. i wouldn't go out with him if i were you, hjalmar. no, don't do it, old man. stay where you are. what? when a dear friend feels the need to open his heart to me. damn it, man. can't you see the fellow is mad? he's barmy, out of his mind. there you are, you see? just you take note. his mother used to have bouts just the same as that sometimes. all the more reason for him to need a friend's watchful eye.
make sure my dinner is ready on time, will you? goodbye for now. my dr hjalmar, wasn't it a good thing i came? ye so youaw qte car hothings were. now wasn thaa go thi? ye of cose, it a gd g. inertain cases, it's iossible to disregard the clmsf the ea but there's one thing that offends sense of justice. - and what is that? - the fact tha- i don't thk i oughto speak so freely about your father. oh, don'nde at a. well then,ou see wh iind so distresng is the fact that it's now not me who is to found a true mrie, but m. - hocayou say that? - , but it's true. your fatr d mrs. sor e now enng un a mage d full idence
based on complete and unqualified frankness on both sides. there's no keeping anything back. there's no deception underneath it all. if i might so put it, it's an agreement for e mutual forgiveness of sin. well, what of it well, ere is only bi from wt you said. one had to go through all this difficult business to found a true marriage. no, that's something quite different, hjalmar. surely, you're not goi to compare either youelf or h with those two? you sewhat i mean, don't you? but i can't get over the fact that there's something in all this that offends my sense of justic it's as if for all the world there's no justice at all in things. good gracious, hjalmar. yomustn't say things like that. don't let's get ouelves involved in questions like tt. anyet, on the other hand, i think i can claim to see the guiding finger of fate. your father is going blind. ohperhaps th's not so cert we, there's oubt abot.
th's pcisehat makes it a just retribion. your father at sometim has blinded a trusting fellow creature. he has, i regret to say, blinded many. and now comes this mysterious, implacable power demands the man's own eyes. oh, how can you say such dreadfuthin? itakese el quite scared. it profits aan occasionally immerse himse in the darker things of life. ga alrdy? s, i didn't wa toanfurtr. was just asell. i met someone at the door. - that must've been mrs. sorby. - yes. i'd like to think you've seen her for the last time. - daddy. - well, what is it, hedvig? mrs.orby had something for me. - for you? - yes. it's something for tomorrow. bertha has always had some little thingor your birthday. what is it? you mustn'know what it is yet. moer has to bring it to me in bed first thing inhe morning. oh, all th secrecy and me being left in theark.
you can see it if you like. it's a big letter. - oh, a letter too? - there's only the letter. i suppose the rest is to come later. but just imagine, a letter. i've never had a letter before. it says "miss" on the front, "miss hedvig ekd." that's me. may i see the letter? there, you see? oh, that's d mr. werle's writing. are you sure, almar? look yourself. oh, you didn't think i'd know, do you? hedvig, may i open the letter and read it? - yes, of course, if you want. - no. not tonight, hjaar. you know that it's meant for tomorrow. oh, please, let him read it. it's sure to be something nice, then daddy will be pleased and we'll all be happy again. - i may open it then? - yes, daddy, do. it'll be fun to find out what it is. very well.
- what's this? - what does it say? yes, tell us. - be quiet. it's a deed of gift. fancy that! what am i getting? read it yourself. the eyes, the eyes. and now this letter. yes, but it looks to me as though it's grandfather who's getting it. gina, can you understand this? i don't know the first thing about it. u tell me what it is. mr. werle writeso hedvig to say that her own grandfather needn't bother doing any more copying, but in future, he may collect a hundred crowns a month straight from the office. a hundred crowns, mother. i read tt bit. well, that'll be nice for grandfather. a hundred crowns for as long as he needs it. that means, of course, untihe's passed away. well, that's him provided fo poor old fellow.
th's not all. you didn't read far enough, hedvig. tethatit'so come to you. to me? all that? you're assured a like amount for the rest of ur life, he wtes. - do you hear thatgi? - yes, ieard. ncy all the mone i'going to get. - daddy, aren't you glad? - glad? well, this puts quite a new perspective on things. this opens my eyes toll sorts of possibilities. it's hedvig. she's the one he's being so generous to. yes, bause s is the one who's ving t birthday. you shall have it all the same, daddy. you know, i'll give all the money to you and mother. yes. to mother. that's just it. hjalmar, this is a trap that's being set for you. uld it be another trap, do you tnk? when he was here ts morning, he said, jalmar ekdal is not the man you take him to be." not the man-- "just wait. you'll see," he said. see that i'd let melf be bought off for a price. mother, what's all this about? go and take your wet boots off, hedvig. yes, hjalmar.
now we'll see who's right, him or me. - there'my answer. - as ixpected. now let there be no more pretensi. if ts affair was over andone with enou got fond of me, as you put i why did he go and arrae things so that weould afford to garried? i suppose he thought he'd be able to come and go here as he plse was all? wasn'te afraid of certain possibity? i dot know whayou mean. i want to know if your child has the right to live under my roof. you ask me that? and i want a straight answer. is she mine or... well? i don't know. you don't know
how should i know? thisouse is no place for me anymore think ll what you ardoin hjma there'no need to tnkere, not foa ke me. yes, theres.here's tremenusot to think about. the three ofou must stay together if you, hjalmar, are to win through to that sublime od of magnanimity and forgiveness. i don't want to. never. never! my hat. my home has collapsed in ruins 'bout my ears. gregers, i... i have no child. - what are you saying? - hedvig-- - daddy! - don't come near me, hedvig. go away. i can't bear to look at you. oh, those eyes.
- goodbye. - no, don't leave me! look at the child, hjalmar. look at her. i will not. i cannot! - let me g - oh! i mustetfr a this. , he leaving us. he's leaving us. he's never coming back again. shh, don't cry, hedvig. your fher is coming back all right. he'sever coming home again. you must believe i meant it all for the best, mrs. ekdal. i dasayou did, t may gofoive you, all the sa. i feel as thougi want tdi what hi done? mother, you must make him come home to us again. yes, yes. be quiet, hedvig. i'usgo out see ian see ight be itreing. you n't lie there crying now. promise me.
i'll stop as long as daddy comes back. uldn't it perhaps be bette to let him fight his bitt fht to the end? he can do that afterwards. e first thing is to get the ild qutened down. do you know what the matter is? why doesn't daddy want me anymore? you mustn't ask th until you've grown up into a big girl. i can't go on feeling awful and miserable until i'm grown . i know what it is. perhaps i'm not really daddy's at all.
how could that be? well, mother could have found me maybe, and now daddy's found out. i' read about things like that. well, but even so, it would-- he could be just as fond of me, even more. after all, the wild duck was sent to us aa present and i'm very fond of her. yes, the wild duck. that's right. let's talk about the wild duck, hedvig, hmm? poor little wild duck. he can't stand the sight of her either. do you know he wanted to wring her neck? oh, i'm sure he wouldn't do that. no, but that's what he said. i thought it was horrid of daddy to say that, 'cause i say a prayer for the wild duck every night. i ask for her to be delivered from death and all evil. do you always say your prayers? - yes. - who taught you? i taught myself. once when daddy was very sick, he had to have leeches on his neck, and he said he was at death's door. well?
so i said a prayer for him after i'd gone to bed. i've done it ever since. now you pray for the wild duck as well? i thought i'd better include the wild duck. she was so poorly to begin with. do you say your prayers in the morning too? - no, i don't. - why not? it's light in the morning. there's nothing to be afraid of anymore. and the wild duck you're so terribly fond of, your father wants to wring its neck? he said if he had his way, he'd do it but that he'd spare her for my sake. that was sweet of him. suppose you were willing to sacrifice the wild duck - for his sake. - the wild duck? suppose you were ready to sacrifice for him the most precious thing you had in the world. do you think that would help? try it, hedvig. yes, i will try it. have you the proper strength of mind, do you think, hmm? i'll ask grandfather to shoot the wild duck for me. yes, do that.
but not a word to your mother about this. why not? she doesn't understand us. the wild duck. i'll try it first thing in the morni. - diyou find him, ther? - no. but 'd gone outhlingth sd. yosure? - yes. the caretaker's wife said so. molvik was with them, too, she said. oh, a time like this, when his soul so desperately needs solitude if he's to win through. yes. you never know where you are with men. lord knows where relling has dragged him off to. i rushed into ma eriksen's, but they weren't there. what if he never comes back? he will come back. i'll take a message to him in the morning. you'll see, he'll come. sleep well. rest assured about that, hedvig. good night. mother. [crying]
yes. relling was right. this is what happens to you when you get those stupid idiots coming round with their fancy talk of the claim of the ideal. - well? - yes, mother, i think it's very likely he's in with relling-- there you are, you see. --because the caretaker's wife said she heard two other people come in with relling last night. i fancied as much. that doesn't help, though, if he won't come back here. well, at least i can pop down and talk to him. hjalmar. hjalmar? i--oh, where's hjalmar?
he's gone out. so early? in all this snow? oh. oh, well, let him. i can go for a walk by myself. help your grandfather into the loft, hedvig. hedvig. hello. mother, what's poor grandfather going to say when he hears daddy is going to leave us? rubbish. grandfather mustn't hear anything of the sort. oh, what a godsend he wasn't around yesterday when all this business was going on. yes, but-- well, found any trace of him? as like as not, he's down there in with relling, they say. with relling? has he really been out with those fellows? - yes. - how could he, when he desperately needs solitude and a chance to collect himself?
you might well say that. - is daddy with you? - is he there? indeed he is. and you never told us. [belching] i know. i'm a beast. but i had to see to the other beast first, you know, the demoniac one, our friend molvik. and then i fell right off to sleep. well, what's hjalmar got to say for himself today? he doesn't say anything. hasn't he said anything at all? not a blessed word. i know. i understand that so well. what's he doing with himself then? well, he's lying on the sofa, snoring. oh, is he? yes, hjalmar's pretty good at snoring. is he asleep? can he really sleep? well, it certainly looks like it. quite understandable, torn as he was by the conflict in his soul. and him not used to late nights. perhaps it's best for him to get some sleep, mother. yes, that's what i was thinking. there's no point in waking him up too soon. thanks, relling.
well, i'll just get the house tidied up first, and then... come and help me, will you, hedvig? have you any views on the spiritual turmoil going on in hjalmar ekdal? i'm damned if i can see any spiritual turmoil going on in him. what? in a crisis like this when his whole life has been put on a completely new basis? how do you suppose a personality like hjalmar's-- personality? him? he never showed any signs of anything as abnormal as a personality. it was all thoroughly cleared out of him, root and branch, when he was still a lad. that i can assure you. that would seem very strange after being brought up with such affectionate care as he was. by those two crazy, hysterical maiden aunts of his, you mean? let me tell you, they were women who never shut their eyes to the claim of the ideal. they were--
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