The passage for analysis, extracted from "The Wild Duck," takes place in the middle of Act Two, where Hjalmar has returned from Werle's residence. The action preceding the scene involves Hedvig's discovery that Hjalmar has failed to bring home a gift for her. The passage begins with his reaction to Hedvig's disappointment; his speech and actions throughout the passage are very indicative of his nature and his position in the family. When he quite comfortably describes himself as "the bread-winner of (the) family," it seems as though he is enforcing that he is the foundation of the family, holding the household together, carrying many responsibilities. It becomes clear later in the play that this is certainly not the case, although both Gina and Hedvig are quick to reassure him that they do depend on him. However, the validity of such reassurances may vary depending on the interpretation of the character behind it.
Hjalmar's motivations can be difficult to isolate. In this passage it seems likely that he would be trying to cover for his mistakes, and the manner in which he does so tends to lie on the brusque side, in order for him to establish his position of being correct. It is likely that in order for this character to be adequately understood by the audience, lines that have a fallacious undertone could be delivered in a more insincere, biting tone. For the most part, however, Hjalmar appears to be sincere in his beliefs, misguided as they may sometimes be. Therefore, a possible choice regarding Hjalmar's tone throughout this passage is for him to appear quite transparent when he speaks of his "responsibilities" and "strength", rather than delivering these lines in a more honest fashion, which may result in audience confusion concerning Hjalmar's motivations. Decisions as to what tone Hjalmar assumes during dialogue with his family in this scene in particular are very important, as any first-time reader of the play will know.