An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Power 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: "It is public opinion--the enlightened public--householders and people of that kind; they control the newspapers." (3.324)
Is this still true? Does the media have power over the people, or do the people have power over the media? Who really controls public opinion?
Dr. Stockmann: "this very raising up the masses would mean nothing more or less than setting them straightway upon the paths of depravity!" (4.133)
Here Dr. Stockmann is criticizing Hovstad's idea that the common people should rise to power over the upper classes. He points out a fundamental flaw in the theory that everything will be hunky-dory once the farmers and mechanics are in control. Once common folks have the power then they won't be common anymore. As soon as they have power, won't they become the very thing they've fought against?
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "The Householders' Association is circulating a list from house to house. All right-minded citizens are being called upon to give up employing you;" (5.105)
The Mayor informs his brother that Aslaksen's group is making sure that he won't be able to practice in town as a doctor anymore. Just a couple days ago the Doctor thought that he had all the power of the Householders' Association behind him. Now, it's all turned against him.