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Wild Duck

Henrik Ibsen

Act one: Part Two

Summary Act one: Part Two

In the first act, the mythic also of course makes itself felt in the play with Werle's superstitious reference to the thirteenth guest. Again, this guest is manifestly Hialmar, the invitee from outside Werle's circle. The figure of the thirteenth guest also becomes tabooed in the course of the play. Note, for example, how Hialmar reports in the following act that either twelve or fourteen guests were at Werle's table, pointedly avoiding the unlucky digit in question.

As we will ultimately learn, it is Gregers' whose destiny is to be the "thirteenth at the table." Gregers also returns from outside his father's circle, ending a self-imposed exile in the Hoidal woods to force the return of a past long suppressed make reparations for his father's betrayal. The figure of the thirteenth guest of course also alludes to the traitor Judas at the last supper; Gregers' rival, Relling, will identify this thirteenth guest as the devil. In insinuating himself into the Ekdals household, the well-meaning Gregers will come to occupy both positions of loving traitor and antichrist, preaching a gospel that only brings ruin.