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An Enemy of the People

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.

Quote #1

Dr. Stockmann: "They [the young] are the people who are going to stir up the fermenting forces of the future, Peter."
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "May I ask what they will find here to 'stir up'[…]"
Dr. Stockmann: "Ah, you must ask the young people that" (1.69-71)

Here we see the contradictory natures of the two brothers. The Doctor is all about progress and change, where as the Mayor is for keeping everything just the way it is. The Mayor sees the Doctor's progressive tendencies as dangerous, because they challenge the established order of things.

Quote #2

Mayor Peter Stockmann: "I am entitled to request most emphatically that all arrangements shall be made in a businesslike manner, through the proper channels, and shall be dealt with by the legally constituted authorities." (1.103)

To the Mayor, rules are everything. They give him power as well as a personal identity. These rules are so important to him that he becomes symbolic of the traditional order, which Dr. Stockmann comes to believe is corrupting all of society.

Quote #3

Morten: "I should like best to be a Viking."
Ejlif: "You would have to be a pagan then."
Morten: "Well, I could become a pagan, couldn't I?"
Billing: "I agree with you, Morten! My sentiments, exactly." (1.189-192)

Pagan is the overall term for a person who is not Christian. When Billing encourages the child in this notion, he's being pretty scandalous. In Ibsen's time, Europe and pretty much the entire Western world was strictly Christian. Systems of morality, social conduct, and even government were based on Christian ideals. Many of Ibsen's plays express a longing for Norway's pagan Viking past and harshly critique the strict moral values of the Christian establishment.

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