by Henrik Ibsen | Grades: 9-12 | Ages: 14+ | Drama
About An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
When the famous and financially successful baths in his home town are contaminated, the local doctor insists they be shut down for expensive repairs, causing upheaval among the townsfolk.
Widely regarded as one of the foremost dramatists of the nineteenth century, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) brought the social problems and ideas of his day to center stage. Creating realistic plays of psychological conflict that emphasized character over cunning plots, he frequently inspired critical objections because his dramas deemed the individual more important than the group.
In this powerful work, Ibsen places his main characters, Dr. Thomas Stockman, in the role of an enlightened and persecuted minority of one confronting an ignorant, powerful majority. When the physician learns that the famous and financially successful baths in his hometown are contaminated, he insists they be shut down for expensive repairs. For his honesty, he is persecuted, ridiculed, and declared an "enemy of the people" by the townspeople, included some who have been his closest allies.
First staged in 1883, An Enemy of the People remains one of the most frequently performed plays by a writer considered by many the "father of modern drama." This easily affordable edition makes available to students, teachers, and general readers a major work by one of the world's great playwrights.
A Biographical Note About Henrik Ibsen
Only Shakespeare's plays are performed more frequently than those of Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). The Norwegian playwright, theater director, and poet scandalized many of his contemporaries as he led the theater into the modern era by exploring the realities behind 19th-century social conventions.