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MonkeyNotes-An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
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Mrs. Stockmann

Mrs. Stockmann is depicted as a caring mother, a typical housewife, a good hostess, and a peacemaker. She diligently attends to all the guests who come to their home, including the Burgomaster, her brother-in-law. She is aware of the temperamental and philosophical differences between her husband and the Burgomaster, but she tries to get the two brothers to work together. She does not want her children to see the two men fighting or for them to be drawn into the politics of the town.

When the Burgomaster and Dr. Stockmann are at loggerheads on the issue of the baths, Mrs. Stockmann advises her husband not to antagonize the Burgomaster, whom she recognizes as a powerful person. When she points out that might is on the Burgomaster's side, her husband points out that right is on his side. Mrs. Stockmann replies rather knowingly and sarcastically, "Ah yes, right, right! What good does it do to have the right if you haven't any might?" She obviously is not as naïve as her husband.


Mrs. Stockmann constantly signals to her husband not to be carried away by his emotions, fearing that harm will come to her family. She takes it upon herself to go the newspaper office to plead with Hovstad not to print the doctor's article. Ironically, when she arrive, her husband is there and has just learned that his article will not be printed. She is saved the trouble of fighting with the editor.

Later in the play, when she sees how shabbily both the authorities and the citizens are treating her husband, she promises to support him whole heartedly in the issue of the baths. She knows that Dr. Stockmann is motivated by a concern for the health and welfare of the public while the Burgomaster and the Town Council are motivated by self-interests. As a result, she stands behind her husband and revives his flagging spirit, enabling him to carry on his struggle with renewed vigor.

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