An Enemy of the People

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Overview

Dr. Stockmann attempts to expose a water pollution scandal in his home town which is about to establish itself as a spa. When his brother, the mayor, conspires with local politicians and the newspaper to suppress the story, Stockmann appeals to the public meeting—only to be shouted down and reviled as 'an enemy of the people'. Ibsen's explosive play reveals his distrust of politicians and the blindly held prejudices of the 'solid majority'.

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Overview

Dr. Stockmann attempts to expose a water pollution scandal in his home town which is about to establish itself as a spa. When his brother, the mayor, conspires with local politicians and the newspaper to suppress the story, Stockmann appeals to the public meeting—only to be shouted down and reviled as 'an enemy of the people'. Ibsen's explosive play reveals his distrust of politicians and the blindly held prejudices of the 'solid majority'.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The McCarthy nightmare had begun. . . . Miller was under suspicion for Communist activities. . . . The blacklist seeps into the core of his adaptation. . . . It's a skillfully crafted work . . . a reminder of what has happened, what can happen, and what must never happen again."
-John Guare, from the Introduction

"Miller has released the anger and scorn of the father of realism."
-Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140481402
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1977
  • Series: Plays, Penguin Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 329,350
  • Product dimensions: 5.09 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Henrik Ibsen was born of well-to-do parents at Skien, a small Norwegian coastal town, on March 20, 1828. In 1836 his father went bankrupt, and the family was reduced to near poverty. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to an apothecary in Grimstad. In 1850 Ibsen ventured to Christiania—present-day Oslo—as a student, with the hope of becoming a doctor. On the strength of his first two plays he was appointed “theater-poet” to the new Bergen National Theater, where he wrote five conventional romantic and historical dramas and absorbed the elements of his craft. In 1857 he was called to the directorship of the financially unsound Christiania Norwegian Theater, which failed in 1862. In 1864, exhausted and enraged by the frustration of his efforts toward a national drama and theater, he quit Norway for what became twenty-seven years of voluntary exile abroad. In Italy he wrote the volcanic Brand (1866), which made his reputation and secured him a poet’s stipend from the government. Its companion piece, the phantasmagoric Peer Gynt, followed in 1867, then the immense double play, Emperor and Galilean (1873), expressing his philosophy of civilization. Meanwhile, having moved to Germany, Ibsen had been searching for a new style. With The Pillars of Society he found it; this became the first of twelve plays, appearing at two-year intervals, that confirmed his international standing as the foremost dramatist of his age. In 1900 Ibsen suffered the first of several strokes that incapacitated him. He died in Oslo on May 23, 1906.

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