Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Dr. Stockmann knows that the present situation with the baths is the result of the blunder committed by the Burgomaster in their construction. The doctor absolutely refuses to be a party to any cover-up or dishonesty about the baths. His brother begs him not to tell anyone about the contamination, but the doctor reveals that many people already know about his report. The Burgomaster calls his brother reckless for leaking the information and tells him not to publish the story in the newspaper. He reminds Dr. Stockmann that he owes his position as Medical Officer of the Baths to him. The Burgomaster demands that Dr. Stockmann recant his story and declare publicly that the affair is not as serious as he had at first imagined; moreover, he must express his full confidence in the Board of Directors of the baths Dr. Stockmann adamantly refuses to obey his brother's orders. As a result, the Burgomaster threatens him with dismissal.
When the Burgomaster departs, Dr. Stockmann is beside himself with fury and righteous indignation. His wife and daughter try to pacify him, but he will not be calmed. He vows to fight his battle to the end and discharge his duties towards the public regardless of how it affects him or his family. Mrs. Stockmann is in tears, but Petra is proud that her father is true to the core.
When Dr. Stockmann discovers the contamination of the baths, he wants the authorities to have the water pipes re-laid. His only interest is in the welfare of society. In this act, Ibsen reveals that other people in the town do not have such noble intentions. Each person who calls on Dr. Stockmann is interested in the matter of the baths for his own sake. Morten Kiil is the first to visit. He wants to expose the Burgomaster and "his gang" in the matter of the contamination, for he wants vengeance on the persons who have expelled him from the Town Council.
Hovstad, the editor of the local newspaper, is very interested in the contamination of the baths. He is eager to publish a number of articles to expose the sordid deeds of the bureaucrats, as related to the contamination. He hopes to inflame the "cowards" of the town to an attitude of strong self-reliance and, thereby, increase the sale of the People's Messenger. Aslaksen, the Chairman of the Homeowners' Association represents the compact majority in the town. Although he supports Dr. Stockmann and wants to honor him, he insists that any approach must be done with great moderation. He is a fence sitter who never wants to offend anyone, especially not the authorities.