The Effect of Animosity

The problems that plague the city stem from a combination of Dr. Stockman’s naivety and inability to understand how much of the town’s economy relies of the bath and Peter Stockman’s willingness to use his brother as a scapegoat in order to allow for less work for himself.  Instead of compromising, each of the brothers makes it harder for the other to come to a better solution.  Dr. Stockman starts by spreading his information before first notifying his brother and thinking about the consequences of such information.  In response, the Mayor tries to stop him by going too far by agreeing that the pollution in the Baths is all Dr. Stockman’s “imagination” (43).  This lie turns the town against Dr. Stockman and even outright refuse to hear about the scientific evidence that started the whole debacle.  The Mayor may have been the one to use slander to get his way, but Dr. Stockman is equally responsible for the issues due to him going to the press as soon as his brother did not yield to his demands.  Dr. Stockman may have had good intentions, but soon became obsessed with his own ideals and lashes out at the populace.  Each of the brothers overreact and allow their own animosities to taint any solution they create so that it devalues the opinions and solutions of the other, thus creating a cycle of revenge that ultimately destroys the reputation of Dr. Stockman and the future health of the town.




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4 responses to “The Effect of Animosity

  1. While I do agree with you, I think that Dr. Stockman is more obsessed with doing what he knows is right more than not understand how important the bath is for the town. I also think that Peter Stockman knows exactly what needs to be done with the bath situation, but he also knows perfectly well that it will cause problems for the town if the baths were to be shut down for at least two years.
    I also agree with you that both brothers were in the wrong with the way they dealt everything that went on about the baths. Whenever one brother did or did not do something the other wanted them to (centering on what they thought was the right thing to do), the other brother got mad and retaliated in some way. This “revenge cycle” as you so well put it, only made things much worse for the already bad situation. Both brothers were certainly at fault with how they dealt with things.

  2. I agree that if the mayor, Dr. Stockman, and the committees involved tried to work together to solve the problem of the contamination of the baths, a solution may have been reached more effectively. However, one must wonder that if Dr. Stockman had indeed informed his brother of the investigation he was doing on the baths if the mayor would have been more receptive to the news of its pollution like you suggest. I believe that the mayor still would have denied the existence of pollution in the lake and probably would have forced Dr. Stockman to cease his investigations in some way since the mayors priorities do not seem to lie with the well-being of the people but with his own political career.

  3. looloo14

    I do think that Thomas could have handled the situation better. He is too ignorant to understand that the small town they live in relies heavily on the money flow that visitors to the baths bring in. He even goes so far as to tell Aslaksen that he does not want “a demonstration in his honor.” (Ibsen 45) Perhaps the better route would have been to not have gone behind Peter’s back with his scientific results. Also, he should have had more physical proof of the health effects that the baths cause. Despite his ignorance, I still side with Thomas because he seems to truly care about the long term well being of his town.

  4. stperry1

    The animosity that grew in this situation made it impossible for there to be a clear cut decision. Although Thomas is clearly morally right to inform the public of a health hazard, it is important for him to realize that this is a more delicate and complicated situation than he thinks. His black and white morality gets in the way of compromise and things only get worse from there. It is not only the animosity between theses two brothers that creates a rise in conflict, it is also their conflicting personal views that cloud the situation and ultimately make it much worse. These things caused both sides to lash out and make questionable decisions, which ultimately led to both sides being right and wrong simultaneously.

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