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An Enemy of the People

Mrs. Stockmann. There, you see, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes, I see well enough; the whole lot of them in the town
are cowards; not a man among them dares do anything for fear of the others.
(Throws the letter on to the table.) But it doesn't matter to us, Katherine. We are
going to sail away to the New World, and--
Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas, are you sure we are well advised to take this
step?
Dr. Stockmann. Are you suggesting that I should stay here, where they have
pilloried me as an enemy of the people--branded me-- broken my windows! And
just look here, Katherine--they have torn a great rent in my black trousers too!
Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, dear!--and they are the best pair you have got!
Dr. Stockmann. You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to
fight for freedom and truth. It is not that I care so much about the trousers, you
know; you can always sew them up again for me. But that the common herd
should dare to make this attack on me, as if they were my equals--that is what I
cannot, for the life of me, swallow!
Mrs. Stockmann. There is no doubt they have behaved very ill toward you,
Thomas; but is that sufficient reason for our leaving our native country for good
and all?
Dr. Stockmann. If we went to another town, do you suppose we should not find
the common people just as insolent as they are here? Depend upon it, there is
not much to choose between them. Oh, well, let the curs snap--that is not the
worst part of it. The worst is that, from one end of this country to the other, every
man is the slave of his Party. Although, as far as that goes, I daresay it is not
much better in the free West either; the compact majority, and liberal public
opinion, and all that infernal old bag of tricks are probably rampant there too. But
there things are done on a larger scale, you see. They may kill you, but they
won't put you to death by slow torture. They don't squeeze a free man's soul in a
vice, as they do here. And, if need be, one can live in solitude. (Walks up and
down.) If only I knew where there was a virgin forest or a small South Sea island
for sale, cheap--
Mrs. Stockmann. But think of the boys, Thomas!
Dr. Stockmann (standing still). What a strange woman you are, Katherine!
Would you prefer to have the boys grow up in a society like this? You saw for
yourself last night that half the population are out of their minds; and if the other
half have not lost their senses, it is because they are mere brutes, with no sense
to lose.
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