An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Politics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used R. Farquharson Sharp's translation.
Aslaksen: "If you attack the government, you don't do the community any harm, anyway; those fellows pay no attention to attacks, you see--they go on just as they are, in spite of them." (3.75)
The Printer tries to defend his political timidity by saying that he's more involved with national politics. With this quote, however, he seems to directly contradict himself. He's basically saying that he doesn't mind attacking national politicians because it doesn't do any good anyway. It seems that no matter how you look at it, Aslaksen is political mouse.
Hovstad: "Politics are the most important thing in life--for a newspaper, anyway." (3.120)
With this statement, Hovstad is trying to convince Petra that it is necessary for a newspaperman to play the political game in order to survive. What do you think? He seems to have a point. If a journalist is completely oblivious to the political ramifications of what he prints, it may very well destroy his career. Then again, isn't a journalist's main job to report the truth? On the other hand, what is the truth?
Dr. Stockmann: "I will say no more about our leading men. […] For I cherish the comforting conviction that these parasites […] are most admirably paving the way for their own extinction; […]. It is not they who are most instrumental in poisoning the sources of our moral life and infecting the ground on which we stand. […] The most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom amongst us is the compact majority--yes, the damned compact Liberal majority." (4.87-89)
Dr. Stockmann is attacking both conservatives and liberals at the same time. He's basically knowingly and willingly committing political suicide. By the time he's done, he'll be totally isolated.