Although there are many themes in An Enemy of the People, the one that was most prevalent to me was the issue of family loyalty vs. morality and it’s role of alienation in a community.
Dr. Stockmann is left with a difficult choice of letting the people know about the contaminations of the baths or keeping it hidden in effort to protect his job, family, and reputation. At a time when the idea of bacteria wasn’t very accepted, Dr. Stockmann decides to stay loyal to his findings and tell the people that the baths are contaminated. After he tells the town, they declare him an enemy of the people.
Once declared an enemy, Dr. Stockmann is alienated from their town, as well as the rest of his family and Horster. The children get kicked out of school, Dr. Stockmann loses his job, and Horster is fired from his job as captain of a ship. Even though Dr. Stockmann did what was morally just in his point of view, the town sees that he is an enemy. His brother, Peter, only adds to the furry by siding with the public due to the fact that Dr. Stockmann has gone against family loyalty and the baths without evident “proof”. Dr. Stockmann is alienated from his community due to the fact that everyone around him has similar ideals to his brother in saying, “We dared not do otherwise on account of public opinion.” (Act 5). To me, An Enemy of the People shows how the issue between family loyalty and doing what’s right don’t always lead to the same resolution. This play teaches a valuable lesson of standing up for what you believe in, regardless of circumstance.