Title: An Enemy of the People
Author: Henrik Ibsen
First published January 1, 1882
164 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9781595406446 (ISBN10: 1595406441)
In Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Dr. Thomas Stockman finds himself in a difficult position as he uncovers a dangerous truth about his hometown’s famous baths. Despite the financial success they bring, the physician insists on their closure for necessary repairs.
However, his honesty is met with ridicule and persecution from the very townspeople he once trusted. As an enlightened minority of one, Dr. Stockman stands up to the ignorant and powerful majority, ultimately being declared an “enemy of the people.” This timeless play, first staged in 1883, continues to captivate audiences as a masterpiece from the “father of modern drama.”
About the Author
Henrik Johan Ibsen, a renowned Norwegian playwright, is widely recognized for revolutionizing modern realistic drama. Often referred to as the “father of modern drama,” he is considered one of Norway’s greatest authors and a national symbol for his significant contribution to the world of theatre.
Ibsen’s plays were considered scandalous during his time, as Victorian values of family life and propriety held sway in Europe. Any challenge to these values was deemed immoral and outrageous.
However, Ibsen’s work explored the realities behind facades and exposed uncomfortable truths that unsettled many of his contemporaries.
Ibsen’s critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality were instrumental in laying the foundation for modern theatre. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with virtuous protagonists fighting against evil forces.
Every drama was expected to conclude in a morally acceptable manner, where good triumphed over evil. Ibsen shattered these illusions and challenged the beliefs of his time, paving the way for a more realistic and honest portrayal of life on stage.
Henrik Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ is a play that tackles issues that are still relevant to modern society, even though it was first published in 1882. This classic work is a staple in the world of theater and continues to be adapted for contemporary audiences.
It’s fair to say that Ibsen is one of the greatest playwrights to have ever lived, having authored several other masterpieces such as ‘A Doll’s House’ and ‘Hedda Gabler.’
‘An Enemy of the People’ is set in a small coastal town in Norway, and follows the story of Dr. Tomas Stockmann, who has recently discovered that the town’s highly prized baths are contaminated. The doctor insists on informing the townspeople, but his brother Peter, who is the town’s Mayor, is more interested in covering up the corruption in order to protect the town’s reputation and guarantee revenue.
The themes of the play revolve around power, corruption, and the role of the media in delivering the truth to the public. The play is written in a dramatic style that is characteristic of Ibsen’s work, and is highly engaging.
In terms of strengths, Ibsen’s writing style hits the mark. The pacing of the story is perfect, and the plot is well-structured.
The character development is also superb, with the protagonist embodying the fight for righteousness and the antagonist taking on the role of the corrupt authority figure. The themes presented in ‘An Enemy of the People’ are highly relevant today, and this makes the play highly significant.
Even though the play was written over a century ago, readers can still identify with it and see parallels to contemporary events. This topical relevance is what makes literature truly timeless, and Ibsen has created a play that will continue to resonate with audiences for many years to come.
One limitation of the play is that it is heavily biased towards the protagonist’s point of view, making it difficult to present the antagonist’s perspective. This can lead to a simplistic portrayal of the conflict, which may not do full justice to the complexity of the situation in question.
In conclusion, ‘An Enemy of The People’ is an outstanding work of literature that easily stands the test of time. It has relevance to innumerable aspects of society, and its enduring importance places it alongside other great works of literature that have transcended time.
With a compelling plot, well-structured characters, and timeless themes, this play is highly recommended to all lovers of literature. On a scale of 1 to 10, this play deserves a rating of 9, as it is a gem in the realm of literature.