An Enemy of the People: Economy and Dr. Stockmann

   In An Enemy of the People, we see both Dr. Stockmann and the economy vs. the people in society. From the beginning, we see both Dr. Stockmann and the economy play roles as the enemy of the people. The pressure put on Dr. Stockmann to decide what to do about the contamination leads him to become the “enemy of the people” (people being the townspeople). Dr. Stockmann’s decision to shut down the baths occurs towards the end of Act I. he says, “Ah, you remember Petra– I wrote opposing the plans before the work was begun. But at that time no one would listen to me, Well, I am going to let them have it, now! Of course I have prepared a report for the Baths Committee; I have had it ready for a week, and was only waiting for this to come” (14). Here, we see Dr. Stockmann upset about the town’s decision not to listen to his original plans regarding the construction of the baths, and blames them for their disobedience as to why the water is now contaminated. This quote shifts into Dr. Stockmann now becoming the “enemy of the people”.

     On the other hand, we see the myor opposing Dr. Stockmann’s suggestion to shut down the baths to repair them. He feels this decision will greaty effect the economy and lose money. He rather put it off a few years. In this section of the text, the enemy of the people can be seen as the economy. Having to shut down the baths will be a catastrophe to the economy which during this time, the mayor feels cannot afford to be worsened. He rather put it off, wait a few years, which will lead to more people getting sick from the contamination.

So overall, we see two opposing views which play as enemies of the people: Dr. Stockmann with his suggestion to shut down the baths and have the townspeople mad at him; and the economy, which the mayor feels should not be affected by Dr. Stockmann’s suggestion and be left alone, leaving the contamination there.

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One response to “An Enemy of the People: Economy and Dr. Stockmann

  1. autumncassidy

    As per Thomas knowing about the potential problems long before the actual construction of the baths leads me to wonder if his personal moral vendetta would have been better served and supported had he began his tirade much earlier into the project. This is one aspect of the play that bothered me, as it appears that although Thomas had the knowledge that foretold of the negative effects of the bath, he chose to either keep quiet or withhold the information. This action, I believe, was a mark of his hatred towards his brother, whom he would rather see made to appear foolish than to have told the community of his conception that the construction of the baths was faulty before this project began. Had he forgone his need to personally inflict harm upon his brother’s reputation, he would have been much better served in the end and possibly could have even avoided being labeled “an enemy of the people”.

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