An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Rules and Order 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: "Do you think the newly awakened lionhearted people are going to be frightened […] There is going to be a revolution in the town tomorrow" (3.310)
The Doctor is under the false impression that he is about to lead a revolution. He hopes that by revealing the truth of the Baths' contamination he'll also reveal the contamination of his brother's regime. Unfortunately for Dr. Stockmann, the established order proves to be too powerful to easily overturn.
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "I venture to presume that there is not a single one of our citizens present who considers it desirable that unreliable […] accounts of the sanitary condition of the Baths […] should be spread abroad. […] Therefore, I should like to propose that the meeting should not permit the Medical Officer […] to read […] his proposed lecture. (4.28-30)
Notice how skillfully the Mayor manipulates the procedures of the meeting to his advantage. Without much effort he's able to use the established order to keep his brother from reading the article he's come to read. What makes it so absurd, it that the reading of the article was the whole purpose of the meeting to begin with. This is just one of many examples in the play where you can see the established order of things being used to silence the truth.
Dr. Stockmann: "And, if need be, one can live in solitude. (Walks up and down.) If only I knew where there was a virgin forest or a small South Sea island for sale, cheap--" (5.20)
Here the Doctor expresses a longing to escape society altogether. He wants to find a way to live without any rules but his own. Throughout much of Ibsen's work, natural settings are depicted as places of liberation.