An Enemy of the People - Henrik Ibsen

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Contemporary social universal issues are reflected in common themes that are evident in extensively appreciated texts. Written by Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People is a prominent example of a text that incorporates universal topics which are those of integrity and environmental damage. Similarly, the film Erin Brockovich, directed by Steven Soderbergh, reflects these themes. Due to the variant mediums the techniques used to portray these themes to the audience are vastly different. Integrity is essential if corrupt forces in society are to be constrained or abolished. In An Enemy of the People, the protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, sacrifices everything for his moral beliefs to assist in eliminating the corruption: "...I'd rather see it ruined than prospering on a lie!" This emotive language reinforces that he values honesty, and would rather suffer financial hardships than dishonestly gain from a hazardous industry like the baths. The Doctor's fierce dedication stands out in contrast to many of the play's secondary characters who seem to compromise their supposed beliefs: "I should be slow to accuse the mayor because he's your bother. But I know you think as I do – the truth should come first..." The high modality language emphasises that Hovstad is manipulative and duplicitous as he accuses the mayor of lying to start with, but ultimately supports him, a result of his lack of integrity. Moreover, the play exemplifies the consequences that are sometimes presented to those who have a strong sense of integrity. Dr Stockmann strives diligently to expose the sordid condition of the baths so that people do not fall ill. Eventually, however, Peter's machinations turn the public against him. Emotive language is used to portray the public's hatred towards the doctor: "He's an enemy! He hates us, that's what he does! Shame! Boo! Enemy of the people!" The irony of this play is that the good person, Dr. Stockmann, is the one labelled as the enemy of the people. The play...
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