An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen (1882)
Dr. Stockmann - Male, 35 to over 50 yrs
Scene partner - Citizens of the town
Monologue - Dramatic, 2:00 to 3:00 min
I have thought and pondered a great deal, these last few days—pondered over such a variety of things that in the end my head seemed too full to hold them—
[Peter Stockmann: Ahem!]
—but I got them clear in my mind at last, and then I saw the whole situation lucidly. And that is why I am standing here to-night. I have a great revelation to make to you, my fellow-citizens! I will impart to you a discovery of a far wider scope than the trifling matter that our water supply is poisoned and our medicinal Baths are standing on pestiferous soil.
[A number of voices: Don't talk about the Baths! We won't hear you! None of that!]
I have already told you that what I want to speak about is the great discovery I have made lately—the discovery that all the sources of our moral life are poisoned and that the whole fabric of our civic community is founded on the pestiferous soil of falsehood.
[Voices of disconcerted Citizens: What is that he says?]
[Peter Stockmann: Such an insinuation—!]
[Aslaksen: I call upon the speaker to moderate his language.]
I have always loved my native town as a man only can love the home of his youthful days. I was not old when I went away from here; and exile, longing and memories cast as it were an additional halo over both the town and its inhabitants. And there I stayed, for many years, in a horrible hole far away up north. When I came into contact with some of the people that lived scattered about among the rocks, I often thought it would of been more service to the poor half-starved creatures if a veterinary doctor had been sent up there, instead of a man like me.
[Billing: I'm damned if I have ever heard—!]
[Hovstad: It is an insult to a respectable population!]
Wait a bit! I do not think anyone will charge me with having forgotten my native town up there. I was like one of the eider-ducks brooding on its nest, and what I hatched was the plans for these Baths. And then when fate at last decreed for me the great happiness of coming home again—I assure you, gentlemen, I thought I had nothing more in the world to wish for. Or rather, there was one thing I wished for—eagerly, untiringly, ardently—and that was to be able to be of service to my native town and the good of the community.
[Peter Stockmann: You chose a strange way of doing it—ahem!]
And so, with my eyes blinded to the real facts, I revelled in happiness. But yesterday morning—no, to be precise, it was yesterday afternoon—the eyes of my mind were opened wide, and the first thing I realised was the colossal stupidity of the authorities.
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