Materialized by the play of shadow and light in the mysterious garret, the opposition light/dark and its permutations provide the central motifs of the play. These motifs include: sight and blindness, ideal and vulgar, truth and lie. We should note its significance to Gregers's cause in particular. Unlike his near-blind father, Gregers believes that he "sees his mission in life," despite Werle's warning that he only looks through his sickly mother's "clouded eyes". Gregers is intent on bringing the "light of transfiguration" fails to shine forth from the couple after their confrontation. This light is the light of redemption according to the rigid claims of the ideal. Hialmar should rejoice in making himself noble and raise his wife to his own exalted level. As Relling will argue in the subsequent act, Gregers's fantasy of Hialmar as a "shining light" among men marks his neurosis: a disease of hero-worship and romantic idealization. Instead of transfiguring light, Gregers only brings "dullness, oppression, and gloom" to the household. Gina responds to Gregers's language of light/dark, spiritual tumults, taints, and poisons by emphasizing "the practical." She delivers one of the more memorable jokes of the play in removing the lampshade in response to Gregers's exhortations. The joke operates by shifting from the plane of Salvationist allegory to physical comedy, from Gregers's impassioned rhetoric to the banal household object. The removal of the lampshade recalls how the petty concerns of the household function throughout the play to deflate the tirades of our would-be romantic heroes. The Garret and Studio
The Wild Duck organizes the stage into a spatial metaphor. Hialmar's studio serves as the central playing space. As noted in the stage directions, it appears littered with photographic tools and apparatus. At a number of moments in the play, various characters will refer to their processing work, and appear retouching photographs. The playing...
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