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

An Enemy of the People tells the story of one man's quest to stick to his principles no matter what the cost. The protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, sacrifices everything for his beliefs. The Doctor's fierce dedication stands out in sharp contrast to many of the play's secondary characters, who seem to compromise their supposed beliefs without a second thought. In the end, the play reveals itself as a sharp examination of the terrible price that society often demands of an individuals who stay true to their principles.

Questions About Principles

  1. What do you think are Dr. Stockmann's most valued principles? Explain why you think so.
  2. What new principle does the Doctor profess to believe at the end of the play?
  3. What principles do you think the Mayor lives by?
  4. Is Aslaksen's principle of moderation wise or cowardly? Why do you think so?

Chew on This

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

The Doctor is one of the few characters in the play that stays committed to his principles.

Dr. Stockmann's ideals are flawed, naïve, and destructive.

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