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Essay/Term paper: An enemy of the people

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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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


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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