A Critical Evaluation of Henrik Ibsen's play 'An Enemy of the People'
Ostracized, politics, authority, responsibility, manipulation, indictment
For an ‘Individual’ in a society it is very difficult to rebel against the norm of the society or the people in authority. The individual has suffered by either leading an isolated life or has been ostracized by the society. ‘An Enemy of The People’ by Henrik Ibsen has always been one of Ibsen’s most popular plays, perhaps because it is essentially conventional in form and treatment. It is set in a provincial town of Norway. It depicts the life of Scandinavian people in the remote northeast of Europe. In the play, Ibsen portrays small-town politics in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The story revolves around the two major concepts “Responsibility” and “manipulation”. Sense of responsibility is portrayed in Dr.Stockmann’s character and the ability to manipulate the truth is vivid in the Mayor’s character. The whole play is like a combat between the concepts. In the play, the medical officer of a small spa town, Dr. Stockmann discovers that the baths on which the livelihood of the place depends are contaminated. At first the citizens adore him as a ‘public benefactor’ but when they realize that the baths will have to be closed for several years and their source of income will be affected heavily Dr. Stockmann’s most reliable people turn against him. The characters try by every available means to achieve the success and happiness that liberalism has promised them. The outcome of the trial is clear and firm: the sentence is to be found in the social meanings of the defeats the protagonists suffer.’ This indictment and trial were intentional. The stage becomes a tribunal in which society is defended by its ideology and prosecuted by its reality.
Article Details
Unique Paper ID: 149346

Publication Volume & Issue: Volume 6, Issue 12

Page(s): 20 - 24
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