In the Wild Duck, Henrik Ibsen begins his play by emphasizing the value of colour and light. He uses the theme of light to contrast Old Werle, a rich man, with Old Ekdal, a poor helpless man. Ibsen connects the colour green with the loss of eyesight of Old Werle. A possible affair between Old Werle and Gina, Hedvig's mother, may suggest the cause of Hedvig's loss of sight. By using sun and moon, Ibsen establishes the atmosphere of the scene. The story line deteriorates from peaceful to tragic.
Ibsen applies the image of light to express certain attributes in order to assemble the story and to alter the mood of the play.
In the study the lamps are dimmed, with green shades, in contrast to the bright lights of the room behind. The study lit with soft and shaded light, implies poverty, where as the other room, illuminated with bright candles, expresses wealth.
The fact that the lamps are dimmed is important and becomes symbolic. Just as the shade covers the brightness of the lamp, the truth in the play is also, at times, shaded. The darkened room, representing poverty, is the office in which the poor Old Ekdal 'does some extra copying,' and in return receives a small income. The other room, representing wealth, is Old Werle's dining room where he was hosting a party. The distinctions of these two lit rooms contrast Old Ekdal and Old Werle.
Unlike Old Werle's expensive and exquisite illumination, a small inexpensive lamp lights the Ekdals home, displaying poverty. This comparison shows another significant distinction between Old Werle and Old Ekdal.
The shade green is a link of two plots of the Wild Duck. One understanding of the colour green hints to the loss of sight,