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Character Analysis: Dr. Thomas Stockmann (Essay Sample)


Essay based on Play An Enemy of People: Character Analysis of Dr. Thomas Stockmann / Public Crisis in Contemporary Public Crisis


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Character Analysis
In Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, there is a lot that can be said about the protagonist Dr. Thomas Stockmann to both applaud and criticize him. Throughout the play, his different sides are revealed as he fights to have sanity regained in the public baths. His dedication to this noble course does not waver even with the realization that he could be placing his family at jeopardy. Through him, it has been shown how one man can choose to stand against the tyranny of the majority and fight for what is right on his own.
On the positive side, Dr. Stockmann is a generous man who does not mind sharing whatever little he has with his neighbors. In the beginning, he is seen welcoming a number of people to his home and offers them hot toddy and roast beef. When his brother the Mayor thinks that the doctor is a spendthrift by spending so much on people, Dr. Stockmann asks, “Why can’t I give myself the pleasure of having people around me?.” The doctor also admits that, “But I can’t find it in my heart to deny myself the pleasure of entertaining my friends.” From these encounters, he proves to be a genuinely caring and generous person who has the interests of others at heart. Dr. Stockmann is a dedicated man, willing to go to any lengths to defend that which he believes in. Throughout the play, he knows very well that fighting for better conditions in the public baths will result to him losing his job, his home and public support. However, this does not stop him from pursuing the matter to the end. The doctor’s determination is so great to an extent that not even his wife Katherine can convince him to give in to the demands of the corrupt town officials.
Concerning his purpose, Dr. Stockmann represents sanity and the fight against manipulation in society by choosing to stand by his principles. He makes sure that no personal desires or gains override these principles. This desirable character is shown by his refusal to accept any financial rewards or entertain threats meant to tempt him into changing his views about the rotten state of the public baths. This character is confirmed by the Mayor when he tells the doctor that, “You have an ingrained tendency to go your own way Thomas, and that can’t go on in a well-organized society.”

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