Minority is Right

There is so much in this play, and I think there are many ideas that Ibsen was expressing when he wrote this play.  One of these things government in general, specifically with the “minority” being right.

I find it interesting that Dr. Stockmann did not really think through how his accusations of the baths would come across to the other members of the town.  He thought that by presenting the truth about what was going on, everyone would be in complete shock and would be in support of the doctor.  This obviously did not happen, the townspeople thought he was insane!

When the town meeting was held and Dr. Stockmann addressed the townspeople about what was going on with the baths, he did more than just talk about the baths.  He talked a lot about the government and how corrupt it is.  All through this scene, Dr. Stockmann is cut off and not able to completely say what he wants to about the matters at hand.  At one point, he puts it rather simply:  “The majority has might on its side- unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in the right- I and a few other scattered individuals.  The minority is always in the right.”  (Ibsen, 59)

This quote shows how Dr. Stockmann views the government of his town:  that they may be a powerful force going against him, but they might not necessarily be correct.  He is confident that the minority will always be morally sound and correct, no matter how powerful the majority is.

In ACT V, we see how difficult it is for Dr. Stockmann and his family while they are nearly removed from the community.  Dr. Stockmann has lost his job, the town is going to refuse getting and treatment from him so he would not be able to practice medicine, Petra was also dismissed from her school, and Ejlif and Morten were told to take a break from their school for a few days.  Seeing this, Dr. Stockmann resolves to move his family to the “new world,” for he thinks they need to completely move out of their country and start fresh.

After having numerous visitors visit Dr. Stockmann at his home, he learns the reason for the pollution of the baths is from Morton Kiils tannery.  After this, he gets an idea that comes with sudden confidence that the Stockmann’s are not going to move.    “No,  I’ll be hanged if we are going away!…”  (Ibsen, 80)

Dr. Stockmann intends for his family to stay in their town, and he is going to start a school and teach his sons and some “street urchins” how to become “liberal-minded and high-minded men.”  (Ibsen, 82)

Since Dr. Stockmann is up against the entire town with the matter of the baths and politics, he is going to use to his benefit the impressionable boys of the town so that they might one day have a very great impact in the town and be able to make some big changes.  At the end of the play, Dr. Stockmann seems to be not as ostracized and defeated as he was even earlier in the same scene.  He is using the resources he has to one day make sure that right prevails in his town.


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