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MonkeyNotes-An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
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Dr. Stockmann is displeased that his earlier suggestions about the proper laying of the water pipes leading to the baths were not taken seriously. Since the pipes were incorrectly constructed, the water of the baths has become contaminated. Dr. Stockmann had suspected the contamination after he had seen so many patients who had fallen ill after using the baths; now the university has verified his suspicions. Their report confirms the presence of poisonous matters in the water. Dr. Stockmann almost seems happy at the news, for he delights in proving his brother wrong. It is almost with pleasure that he says, "I tell you the whole place is a poisonous whited-sepulcher, noxious in the highest degree." This discovery proves the Burgomaster has been wrong, while the doctor has been conscientious.


It is important to notice the reactions of Hovstad and Billing to Dr. Stockmann's discovery. They are full of praise for him and even suggest that he is a hero, worthy of a torchlight procession in his honor. This is a sharp contrast to the doctor's image at the end of the play, when he is judged by the majority of citizens to be "an enemy of the people." Additionally, his light and happy mood at the end of the first act will be in sharp contrast to his tenseness and depression at the end of the play.

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