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MonkeyNotes-An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
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Finally, Captain Horster places his house at the disposal of Dr. Stockmann for the citizens' meeting. Unfortunately, the Burgomaster and his allies have entered into a conspiracy to sabotage the proceedings. When Dr. Stockmann rises to speak, Aslaksen suggests that the meeting should have a chairman. The Burgomaster proposes Aslaksen's name for chairmanship. Aslaksen cautions the citizens that no exaggerated statements should go abroad as to the unsanitary conditions of the baths and of their town. Next the Burgomaster suggests that the meeting should decline to hear the proposed lecture on the subject of the baths by the ex-Medical Officer. Instead, Aslaksen invites the Burgomaster and Hovstad to address the meeting. The Burgomaster discusses the large cost involved in carrying out needless repairs to the baths and the hardship the citizens will have to undergo while the baths are closed.

Hovstad speaks next and points out how he was misled by Dr. Stockmann, who gave false statements about the baths. Shocked by these statements and the proceedings in general, Dr. Stockmann points out how the sources of spiritual life are poisoned and how the society rests on falsehood. He claims that the authorities have shown colossal stupidity in their judgement to perpetrate a lie. In fact, Dr. Stockmann shouts that "I would rather ruin the native town than see it flourish upon a lie." Dr. Stockmann's words provoke the citizens. The Burgomaster seizes the moment, and in a climatic move, he has his brother declared "an enemy of the people."


As a result of the judgment on his character, Dr. Stockmann undergoes a series of misfortunes that cause him to feel depressed. The citizens ignore him, making him feel isolated and lonely; he and his daughter, Petra, lose their jobs; and the landlord wants to evict him. Then the Burgomaster accuses Dr. Stockmann of entering into a plot with Morten Kiil, who he claims is trying to buy all the shares of the baths at a low price. The Burgomaster suggests that the doctor will personally benefit from the contamination issue. Such insinuations infuriate Dr. Stockmann, and he becomes more determined than ever to fight the authorities and to tell the truth about the baths. He even thinks about setting up a school in the very room where he was declared an enemy of the people in order to help young boys grow into free, high- minded, and independent men.

Dr. Stockmann accepts that his battle against the corrupt authorities will not be easy; but he also realizes that his isolation has made him stronger. In fact, he believes that the strongest person in the world is he who stands most alone.

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