Werle: Some people in this world only need to get a couple of slugs in them and they go plunging right down to the depths, and they never come up again.
Gina: Is Gregers still as awful as ever.
Hjalmar: She’s the only one, yes. She’s our greatest joy in life, and … she’s also our deepest sorrow, Gregers.
Ekdal: Felling, eh? …….. That’s a dangerous business, that. That brings trouble. The forests avenge themselves.
Ekdal: She did that. Always do that, wild ducks do. Go plunging right to the bottom … as deep as they can get, my dear sir … hold on with their beaks to the weeds and stuff … all other mess you find down there. Then they never come up again.
Gregers: So time stands still in there … besides the wild duck.
Hedvig: But she’s completely cut off from her friends. And then everything about the wild duck is so mysterious. Nobody really knows her; and nobody knows where she’s from either.
Hjalmar: Good Lord, you mustn’t ask me about details like dates. An invention is something you can never be completely master of. It’s largely a matter of inspiration … of intuition … and it’s pretty nearly impossible to predict when that will come.
Relling: Personality? Him! If he ever showed any signs of anything as abnormal as a personality, it was all thoroughly cleared out of him, root and branch, when he was still a lad – that I can assure you.
Relling: I’m afraid not; I don’t give secret like that away to quacks. … But it’s a tried and tested method; I have used it on Molvik as well. I have made him a ‘demonic’. That’s the particular cure I had to apply to him.
Relling: While I remember, Mr. Werle junior – don’t use this fancy word ‘ideals’; we’ve got a plain word that’s good enough: ‘lies’.
Gregers: Dr. Relling, I shall not rest until I have rescued Hjalmar Ekdal from your clutches!
Relling: So much the worse for him. Take the life-lie away from the average man and straight away you take away his happiness.
Gregers: Ah, if only you’d had your eyes opened to what really makes life worth while! If you had the genuine, joyous, courageous spirit of self-sacrifice, then you would see how quickly he would come back to you. But I still have faith in you, Hedvig.
Gregers: If you are right and I am wrong, life will no longer be worth living.
Gregers: Hedvig has not died in vain. Didn’t you see how grief brought out what was noblest in him?
Relling: Oh, life wouldn’t be too bad if only these blessed people who come canvassing their ideals round everybody’s door would leave us poor souls in peace.