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An Enemy of the People

An Enemy of the People

by Henrik Ibsen

An Enemy of the People Act 5 Summary

  • Dr. Stockmann's study. The walls are lined with various specimens in jars. The widows are shattered, and the room is a total mess.
  • Dr. Stockmann rakes a stone from under a cabinet with an umbrella. He calls out to his wife that he's found another one.
  • Mrs. Stockmann enters and comments that he'll probably find a lot more.
  • The Doctor says he's going keep all the stones that were thrown at the house; they'll be sacred relics for Eylif and Morten to treasure when they're older.
  • A letter arrives from the landlord, informing the Stockmanns that they've been evicted.
  • The landlord writes that he doesn't like kicking the Stockmanns out, but that because of public opinion he doesn't dare to let them stay.
  • The Doctor says it doesn't matter anyway, because they're moving to the New World.
  • Mrs. Stockmann questions whether her husband has thought this whole moving-to-America thing through.
  • Dr. Stockmann tells his wife that things will be better in the New World. Though America is still ruled by the majority, America isn't as mean to free spirits.
  • The Doctor says he wishes he could just live in the woods or and island somewhere.
  • Mrs. Stockmann tells her husband he should think about their sons. Dr. Stockmann replies that he is thinking about them; he doesn't want his boys growing up in such a corrupt society.
  • Petra enters.
  • She informs her parents that she's been fired from her teaching job.
  • Petra says that her boss didn't seem to want to fire her, but she didn't dare to go against public opinion.
  • Apparently, it wasn't just Dr. Stockmann's tirade that got his daughter fired. The school received three letters complaining about Petra's progressive opinions. Someone who had frequently eaten dinner at the Stockmanns' home spread rumors about her. (We bet it was Hovstad.)
  • Captain Horster enters.
  • He's come to check up on the family and see how they're faring.
  • The Doctor complains about the solid majority and mocks the puny size of the rocks they throw at the house.
  • He asks the Captain when they'll be sailing.
  • Captain Horster tells Dr. Stockmann that they can't sail to America because he got fired too. Once again, Horster's boss didn't really want to fire him, but dared not do anything else.
  • The Captain isn't that worried about it, though. He can just find a job somewhere else.
  • The Mayor shows up.
  • Everybody goes into the next room to let the brothers talk.
  • The Mayor gives his Dr. Stockmann notice that he's been fired.
  • Mayor Stockmann says he wishes he could have avoided firing Dr. Stockmann, but in light of public opinion he dared not do anything else.
  • The Mayor tells his brother that the Householders' Association is sending a letter around town telling no one to hire Dr. Stockmann.
  • The Mayor recommends that the Doctor leave town for a while, but suggests that if he comes back in six months or so and offers an apology, perhaps he can get his job back.
  • Dr. Stockmann says he'll never apologize.
  • The Mayor tells the Doctor that he ought to think about his family. Apparently, Morten Kiil, Thomas's father-in-law has a lot of money put aside in his will for his daughter and grandchildren. The Mayor warns Dr. Stockmann that the old man will probably take all that money away if the Doctor makes him mad.
  • Dr. Stockmann tells the Mayor that Kiil is happy about him going after the Mayor and his cronies.
  • The Mayor jumps to the conclusion that all of his brother's shenanigans have been an effort to make good with Kiil.
  • The Doctor tells his brother that he's despicable for assuming such a thing.
  • The Mayor leaves in a huff.
  • Morten Kiil enters.
  • He tells his son-in-law that he has just invested his daughter and grandchildren's inheritance in the Baths. If Dr. Stockmann doesn't declare the Baths safe, and say that the tanneries had nothing to do with the pollution, all of his family's inheritance will be gone.
  • Dr. Stockmann begins to waver. He considers doing what his father-in-law wants.
  • Before exiting, Kiil tells the Doctor that he has until two o'clock to decide.
  • Hovstad and Aslaksen enter.
  • They've heard about Kiil going around buying up all the cheap Bath shares. The two men think that the Doctor's speech was a ploy to help his father-in-law make some cash. They figure that soon Dr. Stockmann will announce that the Baths are just fine so the Bath share prices will go back up again. Then he'll be rich and will also be in total control of the Baths.
  • Hovstad and Aslaksen want in on the scheme. They tell the Doctor that if he gives them a little money, that they'll let him use the newspaper again.
  • Dr. Stockmann taunts them, saying what if he doesn't give them anything?
  • Hovstad threatens to expose the Doctor's alleged scheme in the paper.
  • Dr. Stockmann grabs his umbrella and chases the two men away.
  • Captain Horster, Petra, and Mrs. Stockmann come in to see what all the commotion is.
  • The Doctor sends a note to Kiil refusing his offer.
  • Dr. Stockmann announces that they are staying in town. This is the battle he was meant to fight.
  • Captain Horster offers for the Stockmanns to live in his house. He's off at sea most of the time so it won't be a big deal.
  • Dr. Stockmann thanks the Captain.
  • He tells his family that he's been dismissed from the Baths and that the public is attacking his medical practice. The Doctor says that he'll only have his poor patients left, the ones who don't pay.
  • He's completely unperturbed by this, though. He plans to preach to the poor about the terrible political leaders.
  • Mrs. Stockmann points out that they won't have any money to live on. Dr. Stockman says they'll have to scrimp and save, but that they'll get by.
  • Eylif and Morten come home.
  • Some boys tried to beat them up at school. They fought back and got sent home.
  • The Doctor declares that they'll never go back to that school again. In fact he'll teach them himself, with Petra's help.
  • Dr. Stockmann declares that they'll start their own school and teach poor children.
  • Mrs. Stockmann worries that her husband will be driven from the town. Dr. Stockmann says there's no way that's going to happen, because he is the strongest man on Earth.
  • Mrs. Stockmann seems to doubt her husband, but he reaffirms that he's the strongest man, because the strongest man is one who stands alone.

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