An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People is one of Ibsen’s angriest and most radical plays - and also one of his most popular. Written in disgust at the hostile reception given to its predecessor, Ghosts, the play rages against the deceit and corruption of 19th Century public affairs, in a manner that resonates powerfully in the current era of ‘post-truth’ politics. But it’s also a penetrating study of the boundary between idealism and egotism. The story centres on Thomas Stockmann, the respected doctor of a spa town, who decides to expose a water pollution scandal. He quickly comes into an explosive conflict with the local citizenry, including the press, the business community, and the mayor - who is also his brother.
An Enemy of the People is a fierce political, moral and psychological drama with a cutting satirical edge. Despite being written in 1882, Ibsen addresses a plethora of pertinent political issues, such as environmental concerns versus economic interests, the professional responsibility of journalists and politicians, and the difficult dilemmas involved in whistle blowing.
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