An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Society and Class 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: "I can't stand leading men at any price! […] what I should like best would be to see them exterminated like any other vermin." (4.76)
In Act 4, the Doctor delivers his giant speech blatantly attacking the leaders of the town. Though he's been warned time and again to chill out, he uses his strongest language to mercilessly assault them. He viciously attacks his brother and the other upper-class conservatives who run the town.
Dr. Stockmann: "The most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom amongst us
is […] the damned compact Liberal majority." (4.89)
Not only does Dr. Stockmann attack the conservatives of society, but he also goes after the liberals. In fact, he spends most of his time in his big Act 4 speech sticking it to the liberal majority. This is a big change from earlier in the play where he championed them.
Dr. Stockmann: "The minority is always in the right." (4.94)
What do you think about this statement? The Doctor is basically saying that the majority of people in society are fools, therefore they have no right to govern themselves. He proposes that the few well-educated, forward-thinking intellectuals are the smartest and therefore have the right to lead. This statement attacks the very foundation of democracy, which is based on the idea of majority rule. Does he have a good point, or is he a dictator in the making?