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MonkeyNotes-An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
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Dr. Stockmann decides not to go abroad. He will stay in the town and carry on the fight until the end. He will not let himself be "beaten off the field by public opinion and the compact majority." He plans to start a school and teach the children how to grow into "free, high-minded persons." Petra agrees to help him with his effort. He tells his sons to bring in some street urchins so that he can experiment on them in his school. When the children grow into free and liberal thinkers, they can drive all the wolves from public life. At this thought, Dr. Stockmann experiences a strange sense of elation and is filled with strength. He now knows that "the strongest person in the world is he who stands most alone."

Notes

Dr. Stockmann finds himself isolated from society. The landlord wants to evict him and his family. Petra is dismissed from her school. His sons have a scuffle with their classmates. Even his friend Captain Horster is fired for supporting Dr. Stockmann.

The Burgomaster comes to call on his brother. He delivers an official letter from the Directors of the Baths dismissing Dr. Stockmann as the Medical Officer. He further informs his brother that directions have been given to the citizens warning them against using him as a physician. He suggests that his brother acknowledge his errors, express his regrets, and go away for about six months. The Burgomaster hints he may be reinstated if he follows this procedure. The brave doctor refuses to succumb to such threats and pressure tactics.


Dr. Stockmann is disgusted at his brother's "plebeian attitude;" he cannot believe that the Burgomaster tries to bargain with him about rescinding his charges against the baths and apologizing to the Board of Directors. The doctor knows that the Burgomaster is trying to make sure he can retain his position of power in the town. Similarly, the doctor is filled with revulsion at Morten Kiil's suggestion that he exonerate him and his tannery from polluting the baths; he is further shocked that Kiil threatens him with giving his shares in the baths to the hospital if the doctor does not comply. His final shock comes when Hovstad and Aslaksen accuse him and Kiil of concocting the whole matter in order to corner all the shares in the baths. The doctor is so outraged at such a suggestion that he drives them out of his house with an umbrella. It is apparent that no one, except the noble doctor, is really interested in the welfare of society; they could care less if people get sick or die from visiting the baths.

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