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Quotes

Quote #1

REGINA. Poor mother! you very soon tormented her into her grave.
ENGSTRAND. [With a twist of his shoulders.] Oh, of course! I'm to have the blame for everything. (1.43-44)

What does that twist of the shoulders mean? Does Regina actually get to him, or make him feel guilty? Or is he shrugging off her accusation?

Quote #2

MRS. ALVING. I had to bear it for my little boy's sake. But when the last insult was added; when my own servant-maid – ; then I swore to myself: This shall come to an end! (1.411)

Mrs. Alving is not above feeling shame at her husband's affair with her maid. She could stand his behavior as long as it wasn't staring her in the face. When she had to encounter his behavior in her own house, in the guise of someone socially beneath her, she had to do something about it.

Quote #3

MRS. ALVING. It seemed to me the child must be poisoned by merely breathing the air of this polluted home. (1.411)

Mrs. Alving thinks of guilt and sin as a contagious illness – she can stop it from spreading if she just keeps the healthy apart from the diseased. Who really has the disease, though? If Mrs. Alving had found a happy way to live with her husband, could Oswald have stayed home? Would Captain Alving still be alive? Would Oswald be well?

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