Aleksandr Vampilov’s Drama “Duck Hunting” and The (In)different Character in the Different Theatre: Phenomenological Analysis of Viktor Zilov’s Revolution

Alexandra Yazeva


     Aleksandr Vampilov’s “Duck Hunting” (1967) is a revolutionary drama which initiated the new Soviet theatre and the new post-Soviet theatre later on. Vreneli Farber underlines the wealth of the author’s dramaturgic techniques: “Vampilov    < in “Duck Hunting”> conveys his ideas in a variety of ways: a play-within-a-play, symbolism …, character contrasts …, farce and tragedy, and an inconclusive ending. This play reflects… his moving away from mainstream Socialist Realism[1]”. The real discovery of the play is its main character ― Viktor Zilov, who evokes many contradictory responses in the world critique. Over the course of few days the thirty year old engineer lives a small life, full of hypocrisy, disillusions and searching for his real “self”, and a small death in “a series of “recollections”1”. The question of the play’s finale is still debatable. Few critics assert that the central protagonist manages to find his way back to himself.          The overwhelming majority suggests that the character’s “self-evaluation” ultimately becomes his “self-destruction”.                                                                       

      I consider the problem of the protagonist of Aleksandr Vampilov’s play from the phenomenological point of view for the first time, as uncommon literary works require uncommon approaches from their researchers. Phenomenological analysis will make it possible to prove that Viktor Zilov accomplishes not the re-evaluation, but the revolution; that he revolts against former himself and emerges victorious. My focus is on Zilov’s cues, which favor the display of his main traits to a considerable extent, as well as on communicative strategies of some other characters and stage directions from the drama.

[1] Farber V., The playwright Aleksandr Vampilov.  An Ironic Observer, New York, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2001, p. 83.


Vampilov, Zilov, phenomenological literary analysis, communication

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