After writing my essay on An Enemy of the People, I started taking offense to the notion that “the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone” because while I understand that standing up for what you believe in, though you may be the minority, takes courage alienating yourself from everyone does not automatically make you strong (82). For a counterexample I offer Spiderman, though I understand being startled at how I am using a comic book character in relation to an old play by Ibsen but bear with me. Spiderman is known not only for his powers but also for his difficulties in his social and familial life that is exacerbated by being a superhero. Yet, Spiderman continues to care about his family and friends even when they are exposed to danger by his presence, such as Mary Jane being held hostage in each movie and Aunt May being shot in the Back in Black comic book. This shows Spiderman’s strengths since he is willing to risk the grief of losing his loved ones and is also willing to go through the extra work of saving them in order to maintain his relationships. This leads to reciprocation with Spiderman’s friends lending their physical strength, this usually being the Fantastic Four, and emotional support. These symbiotic relationships prove that Spiderman becomes stronger and healthier as he relies on the people around him and continues to care for them. Ibsen’s quote comes off as narrow-minded in this sense with how the situation where this applied was when the character was obviously right and everyone around him was either a mindless follower or the enemy. While I understand how it takes a great amount of strength to stand alone, I do not believe that it would make you the neither strongest nor most virtuous.
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