“The majority is never right…Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools?” – Henrik Ibsen
Widely regarded as one of the foremost dramatists of the nineteenth century, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906), created realistic plays bringing the social problems of his day to center stage. His dramas portrayed psychological conflict that emphasized character over devious plots, and over critical objection, he deemed the individual more important than the group.
In this powerful work, Ibsen does just that, as his main character, Dr. Thomas Stockman, is an enlightened and persecuted minority of one confronting an ignorant, powerful majority.
When Dr. Stockman learns that the financially successful baths in his hometown are contaminated, he insists that this popular complex be shut down for expensive repairs. At first, he is thanked, but the next morning, even his brother, who is the town’s mayor, and his closest friends, tell him to retract his statement because the baths are crucial to the town’s economy. When he refuses, Stockman’s home is vandalized, he and his daughter are fired, and he is ridiculed, persecuted, and declared an “enemy of the people” by the townspeople. The doctor stands up to it all, believing that the strongest man is the man who stands alone.
In response to the public outcry against him and his play, Ghosts, which openly discussed adultery and syphilis, Ibsen faced accusations of being "scandalous," "degenerate," and "immoral."