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Themes

Money and the pursuit of wealth is a major theme in An Enemy of the People. Ibsen's play highlights the incredible power that monetary concerns have in society. All of the characters in the play are controlled or influenced by wealth or the lack of it. Some compromise their beliefs out of need of for money, others use it as a weapon, while one man forsakes it altogether in the name of his principles. As in many of Ibsen's other plays, the power of money is felt in every corner of An Enemy of the People.

Questions About Wealth

  1. Should the Doctor be more sympathetic to his brother for giving him the well-paying job at the Baths? Why or why not?
  2. In terms of wealth, what makes Hovstad's position in the city unique?
  3. Explain why and how money is an incentive to keep the Doctor's article from being published.

Chew on This

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

The Mayor is forsaking moral obligations in order for the town to grow richer.

The actions of the Mayor are justified because he is only fulfilling his duty to make his town prosperous.

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