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An Enemy of the People

An Enemy of the People


by Henrik Ibsen

An Enemy of the People Principles 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.

Quote #10

Morten Kiil: "If you still make out that these animals and other nasty things of that sort come from my tannery, it will be exactly as if you were to flay broad strips of skin from Katherine's body, and Petra's, and the boys' […]
Dr. Stockmann: "Haven't the ignorant, narrow-minded curs [the people of the town] reviled me as an enemy of the people?--and haven't they been ready to tear the clothes off my back too? (5.173-184)

When Kiil tells the Doctor that he's used all of Mrs. Stockmann and the kids' inheritance to buy worthless shares in the Baths, the Doctor is faced with a terrible dilemma. If he goes on pronouncing that the Baths are polluted, his family may not be provided for in the future. This is one of the very few places in the play where we see Dr. Stockmann waver in his principles. For just a second, he considers backing down for the sake of his family. In the end, though, nothing is too great a sacrifice for the truth.

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