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An Enemy of the People

An Enemy of the People

by Henrik Ibsen

Politics Theme

The conflict of An Enemy of the People is a tense political battle. The tug and pull of political turf wars help drive the action of the play. Though all the politics we see represented in the play exist strictly on a local level, national issues are addressed as well. Also, the patterns of local politics often echo the larger patterns that exist of the national level. An Enemy of the People is an unblinking portrayal of the cutthroat world of political maneuverings.

Questions About Politics

  1. Describe the interplay between conservative and progressive ideas in this play. Does it relate to today's political climate? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. Do political pressures seem to influence what the media (the newspaper) decides to report? If so, why is this important? If not, what is influencing what is reported?
  3. Is the Doctor's decision to stand up to the political world of his town selfish or selfless?
  4. What might Ibsen be saying about democracy in the scene where the Doctor is voted an "enemy of the people"?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The play displays politics as something both corrupt and petty.

Politics, though flawed, are a powerful force whose favor one's success often depends upon.

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