Consistency in Dr. Tom Stockmann
In Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People, Dr. Stockmann is first introduced as an intelligent doctor and scientist who appears to live in constant high spirits. Miller describes him as “the eternal amateur- a lover of things, of people, of sheer living, a man for whom the days are too short, and the future fabulous with discoverable joys” (Miller, 6). Upon receiving his results from the university regarding the condition of the water, Dr. Stockmann is faced with lies and corruption, which test the consistency of his integrity and conviction. Proving to be a man of value and truth, Dr. Stockmann does not betray his beliefs to maintain the false image of his town nor does he compromise the truth to restore social peace. He remains faithful to the safety and health of his town regardless of the obstacles.
Miller immediately mentions Dr. Tom Stockmann’s sense of integrity in his first description of the doctor. He concludes this short description by explaining how “he [Dr. Stockmann] will not compromise for less than God’s own share of the world while they have settled for less than Man’s”(6). Miller purposely includes this concise yet effective observation to emphasize Dr. Stockmann’s self-assured headstrong character. It is then most certainly re-enforced when Peter Stockmann, Tom’s brother and the mayor, confronts Dr. Stockmann the first time concerning the report explaining the poisoned water. Peter Stockmann orders his brother to deny any danger in the condition of the water to prevent economical depression. Dr. Stockmann refuses to condone this lie and explains how his “convictions will change when the water changes, and for no other reason” (32). Even after Peter calls him a traitor to his town and threatens to fire Tom from the institute, Tom still maintains his strength and integrity. He responds with ferocity and anger explaining how he will stick to his truth until the end....
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