Wild Duck Naturalistic & Symbolic

3077 words - 12 pages

The Wild Duck one of Ibsen's latter plays not only shows his great talent for mimesis writing, with it social depth and distinguished realism it offers a psychologically framed exploration into human nature. Even the plays structure, such as the juxtaposing of the Werle's wealthy, over indulgent, powerful status with that of the Ekdal's menial, disgraced, impoverished existence. By opening the play in the lavish, `elegant' social space belonging to Werle then introducing the space on which the majority of the action ensues, that of the crude, humble communal room in the Ekdal's home. The first scenes concern themselves with the structure of social space both in terms of class and family line. The speech in these scenes gives history and depth to the characters, through the exchanges made we understand the characters relationships with one another.

Naturalistic dramas, such as `The Wild Duck' offer an illusion or picture of reality. They began the moving the `stage closer to real life'. According to Emile Zola theatre in his era was in need of `a human drama with truth'. The Wild Duck offers this to a certain extent. Emile Zola felt in his time that many playwrights in his time felt reality needed to be `dressed up, least it look too disreputable I public'. He felt naturalists brought about the ideal that `truth has no need for dressing up; it can walk naked. ` What I find interesting about The Wild Duck is that if Zola's theory upon Naturalism is true then Ibsen has conditioned his whole play to play upon the dangers that exposing the truth can bring. Ibsen uses Gregers to expose the truth, if the truth can really `walk naked', why is it so ugly on exposure.

Advances upon the technical aspect of theatre that were in operation in Ibsen's time of writing gave him more possibilities for creating a `true' piece of naturalistic theatre. Gas lighting allowed a director to adjust the lighting to suit the mood of the play, offering greater variety from `standardised' lighting. Ibsen also used practices such as dressing his actors in contemporary clothes in order to involve the audience. The audience were encouraged to react strongly to the action. The stage design, a box set dressed accordingly, realistically and familiarly, was Ibsen's preferred setting for The Wild Duck. Its attention to detail meant that it became contemporary and therefore a set in which Ibsen's audience could relate to through there own personal experience. It was a mirror not only to nature but also to the audience themselves, they could relate to the characters surroundings as if it were there own. This `fourth wall' effect or illusion as named by the practitioner Stanislavski, gave the audience a kind of voyeuristic view upon the dramatic situation unfolding before them. Acting had moved away from the melodramatic flounces of the past. As the practitioner Stanislavski encouraged with his work action on stage should closely follow the `organic' actions of every day...

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