A compelling book should consist of an array of complex ideas and leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction. That book must only regretfully leave the hands of its reader and enthusiastically return. An Enemy of the People written by Henrik Ibsen and published by Oxford University Press, provides that compelling read while its intricate ideas leave the mind yearning for more. This play encompasses the strong’s manipulation over the simple-minded majority and the potential tyranny of that majority. The enticing story of a common man that unwaveringly defends the truth in the face of overwhelming oppression and cruel betrayal in An Enemy of the People creates a moving and compelling read.
Ibsen started An Enemy of the People with the characters praising the protagonist, Dr. Thomas Stockmann. His scientific discovery of the pollution in the town baths possibly saved the health of hundreds of citizens. However, that praise and support would not last. Some of the doctor’s strongest supporters will give in to corruption and fear as the benefits of their loyalty diminish. They originally include his family, the heads of the newspaper, the chairman of the Temperance Society and the Homeowners Association, and the general public. Only his brother, the mayor, stands in his path to fix the baths. Although he dones the appearance of the “evil” person of the play, his motives are just. When Dr. Stockmann deemed the baths tainted, he left his brother in a paradox. The baths provided the town with the stable economy it thrived upon. By fixing them, the baths would shutdown for two years ceasing their profit. Stockholders in the baths would riot in uproar. If the mayor chose to pay no heed to the issue, the Homeowners Association would come down on him with the iron fist of the people. In order to solve this predicament, the mayor must silence his brother or manipulate the people to rise against this “enemy of the people.”
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