| Quote #1
MRS. ALVING. Well, I seem to find explanation and confirmation of all sorts of things I myself have been thinking. (1.166)
Mrs. Alving's slow and gradual change of perspective has come about through a process of her observation, thinking, and reading progressive literature. The appearance of Oswald frees her to move further away from social conformity.
| Quote #2
MANDERS. In his youth he overflowed with the joy of life – (1.294)
It's ironic that Manders first introduces this key phrase: "joy of life." He is admiringly describing Captain Alving. The "joy of life" is all about freedom, openness, and personal choice – everything that Manders, as a representative of the Norwegian status quo – is pitted against.
| Quote #3
OSWALD. Well, you may take their word for it. They know what they are talking about! [Presses has hands to his head.] Oh! that that great, free, glorious life out there should be defiled in such a way! (1.342)
At this point in the play, Oswald is tortured by the thought that his own involvement at "that great, free, glorious life out there" has brought about his ruin. Little does he know that his father could have been one of the men he describes coming down to Paris to "slum it" among artists.