An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Pride 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.
Dr. Stockmann: "The majority has might on its side--unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in the right--I and a few other scattered individuals." (4.94)
So, the Doctor is basically saying that he and the few people like him have the right to rule society, because they're smarter than everybody else. Thoughts? Is that idea the most massive ego-trip ever, or does he have a good point?
Mrs. Stockmann: (in an undertone). "Thomas, dear, let us go out by the back way."
Dr. Stockmann: "No back ways for me, Katherine," (4.187-188)
Notice how the Doctor refuses to back down, even after the entire community rejects his ideas. His pride won't allow him quietly exit through the back door. He leads his family right into an angry mob. Do you think this is bold, or selfish?
Dr. Stockmann: "You are really ridiculous, Katherine. Do you want me to let myself be beaten off the field by public opinion and the compact majority and all that devilry? No, thank you!" (5.277)
The Doctor decides to keep his family in the town and fight against all the ignorance he sees around him. We wonder if pride might have a lot to do with it. If he stuck his tail between his legs and sailed away to America as he was originally planning, he might never regain his self-respect. Do you think Katherine is being "ridiculous," though, when she urges her husband to be cautious? His preaching hasn't gotten through to anybody in the past. Could it be that pride has driven the Doctor just a little bit mad? Or is he as he sees himself: a steadfast man, fighting the good fight no matter what the cost?