An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
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An Enemy of the People Theme of Pride

Many of the play's characters seem to be guilty of pride. They tend think very highly of themselves and are concerned about maintaining face in public. Often in literature, pride is shown as a destructive force. This is certainly true to a certain extent in An Enemy of the People; it causes no end of trouble. In the end, however, we see how one person's pride and resolute self-confidence could just be the saving grace of all of society.

Questions About Pride

  1. Does the doctor's pride in his own morality make him a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
  2. What aspects of his life does the Mayor take pride in? What do these things tell you about his character?
  3. How do position in society and pride intertwine throughout the play? Give specific examples.

Chew on This

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

The Doctor's pride in standing up for what is right allows the play to end with hope.

Pride makes each character act brashly and inconsiderately, causing only chaos.

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