An Enemy of the People

From Act IV:

Dr. Stockmann (with growing fervor). What does the destruction of a community matter, if it lives on lies? It ought to be razed to the ground. I tell you– All who live by lies ought to be exterminated like vermin! You will end by infecting the whole country; you will bring about such a state of things that the wholecountry will deserve to be ruined. And if things come to that pass, I shall say from the bottom of my heart: Let the whole country perish, let all these people be exterminated!

Voices from the crowd. That is talking like an out-and-out enemy of the people!

Billing. There sounded the voice of the people, by all that’s holy!

The whole crowd. (shouting). Yes, yes! He is an enemy of the people! He hates his country! He hates his own people!

Aslaksen. Both as a citizen and as an individual, I am profoundly disturbed by what we have had to listen to. Dr. Stockmann has shown himself in a light I should never have dreamed of. I am unhappily obliged to subscribe to the opinion which I have just heard my estimable fellow-citizens utter; and I propose that we should give expression to that opinion in a resolution. I propose a resolution as follows: “This meeting declares that it considers Dr. Thomas Stockmann, Medical Officer of the Baths, to be an enemy of the people.”

By the way, if you haven’t already nabbed tickets to A Red Orchid Theatre’s Traitor — an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People written by Brett Neveu and directed by Michael Shannon — stop what you’re doing and get them. Elsewhere, I have described it as think-y, inventive, and, well, feckin’ brilliant.

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