No One Appreciates a Critic

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Ibsen’s characters in the “Wild Duck” are tangled inside of a quarrel by the effect of each other’s differing duties and manifestos, leaving imagination to be championed either by work or criticism of the work of others. This criticism of work is a product of Mr. Werle’s determination to triumphantly buy-into the unassuming lives of the Hjalmar family with capital and in turn driving out the pure ambition that allows Hjalmar to rise in the morning with high hopes. For example, Hjalmar proclaims to the audience “Mr. Werle has done a great deal for me- God knows, I’m the first to admit it. But that doesn’t mean I’ve got to be under his thumb all my life.”(32) Hjalmar wants to make a name for himself by fortunes that are not linked to Mr. Werle, so that he can become a self-serving breadwinner or perhaps a dreamer. But neither opponent seems to be a victor in this world of uncertainty and dismal days that is the forbidden wild. The forbidden wild is a fictitious world that cannot be won over by either character. Both Mr. Werle and Hjalmar, the heavyweights in the play, seem to plunge down into further despair. Mr. Werle uses the strategy of cynicism towards living a life without duties and Hjalmar, the dreamer, consumes time by dawdling over affairs that seem non-existent or trivial. For example, he wards away the critics when they question his sanity in constructing a Noah’s Arc of sorts in the attic. “Come, come, my dear Gregers, you mustn’t ask for details yet. It takes time you know. Another thing-don’t imagine it’s vanity that spurs on me. I’m certainly not working for my own sake. Oh no, it is my life’s mission that stands before me night and day.” (41) In creation of this idealistic attic, Hjalmar is granted a safe haven ... ... middle of paper ... ...about his predicament that he trudges in with his current name, instead of attempting to make the best of the situation he is left in by rekindling the soured relationship with his father, Old Werle. Gregers criticizes his father for becoming someone who lionizes himself in spite of others such as Old Ekdal and places himself as someone to be pitied upon instead of moving on with his life. Both the cynics and the idealists are at odds inside of there own worlds and it is their headstrong opinions of either aristocracy or lower-class ideals that allow them to thrive inside their self-created worlds. In the battle between cynicism and idealism there can be no definite victor because both the scrutinizers and the dreamers are adherent to disparate dreams that are unable to co-exist in one world of society, but will be individually validated and cherished in another.
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