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An enemy of the people


An Enemy of the People An Enemy of the People, written by Henrik Ibsen was a play written to show his disgust for the in felt during a hostile reception given to him by the Norwegian public and critics to his earlier play, Ghosts. An Enemy of the People is a story about a doctor that discovered that the town he lives in, has become a cesspool. After discovering the town’s beloved bath, which is supposedly helps people get better and is the main reason the town has visitors from across the county come visit it, has become polluted with bacteria that is caused from the water pipes underground. This resulted in visitors going away from the town with Typhoid and other sicknesses. Dr. Stockmann, which is the discoverer of the pollution, tries to tell the townspeople that they need to fix the water pipes and bath. Facing a large amount of resistance from his brother the mayor, Hovstad the newspaper editor, and many of the townspeople. This results in Dr. Stockmann lashing out at the whole town for its ignorance and lies that this town is built on causing Dr. Stockmann to become an enemy of the people and being out-casted among his town that he loves. The purpose of this book was to show Ibsen’s content toward society in knowing the truth. This play was written in 1882 in Europe. At that time, Ibsen wanted to show the reality of things that are built on lies and for people to become more scientific in their studies rather than being religious wise. Ibsen was met with a handful of critics forcing him to become angered at society. An Enemy of the People does a good job showing society in Europe at that time when people weren’t that interested in technology and the truth. People didn’t care about having rights and allowed their superior to have the say in everything. This one quote which I found had much significance in the definition of this time period was from Mrs. Stockmann. "Dr. Stockmann: Yes, but I have right on mine!" "Mrs. Stockmann: Right! Yes, of course. But what’s the use of right without might?" This pointed to me that at this time period, yes, men were guaranteed rights, but the only men that can exercise those rights were the powerful men. Ibsen started off this play with everybody getting along. Dr. Stockmann was on the good side of Hovstad and the rest of the media of the town. Then, Ibsen slowly in the play, shows points of Dr. Stockmann’s downfall by his own daughter of not supporting him later on in the play, to his brother the mayor, perusion of the whole newspaper staff to not support Dr. Stockmann to eventually having them turn their backs on him. The final downfall was the rally that Dr. Stockmann organized which showed the ignorance of the townspeople only rallying around the officials. Dr. Stockmann lashed out at the people calling the majority as the fools, thus signaling the official end of Dr. Stockmann and proclaiming as the enemy of the people. An Enemy of the People was a straightforward play. No complications or any in this play. Nothing to really get excited about in this play. Did the author get his point across? Yes. Did he really actually put effort in writing this play? My opinion, no. At the time, I feel that Ibsen actually wrote this play on anger from his reception in Norwegian. The play itself, was very predictable, from obvious points of Dr. Stockmann’s friend turning their back to him, to the obvious rally seen where almost every townspeople starts to show their ignorance with the drunks and the wild cat-callings of the people. This book gives us the idea of society in Europe but it was just too straightforward and it left me with nothing really to get excited about.

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