The Role Of Democracy In Henry Ibsen's Enemy Of The People

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The protagonist Dr. Stockman in Henry Ibsen’s Enemy of the People fosters an idea that, “That the [compact] majority has the monopoly of the truth. What sort of truths are they that the majority usually supports? They are the truths that are of such advanced age that they are beginning to break up. And if a truth is as old as that, it is also in a fair way to become a lie, gentleman.” (Ibsen, 59). The democracy illustrated in the play ostracizes Dr. Stockman, in effort to preserve the economic fortitude of the town, which impedes their ability to weigh the pollution of the baths in a rational and virtuous way. Mayor Peter Stockman is merely the mouthpiece for the democracy, and while he is contentious with his brother, the mayor …show more content…
The issue is in the futility of the people, who are according to Dr. Stockman, “The most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom amongst us,” (Ibsen, 58), which leave people like Hovstad, unable to publicly demonstrate he is a freethinker because he has to appease, “The false doctrine that is the masses, the crowd, the compact majority that have the monopoly of broad-mindedness and morality” (Ibsen, 63). Contrary to Ibsen’s dysfunctional democracy, the ventures of Lycurgus’s regime in Sparta were analogous to his governing policy, as he used his relational skills and social acumen to urge Sparta to become a body that exemplified solidarity, marked by military strength and communal harmony. Plutarch regarded him as a man, who was not characterized as a domineering king, but a leader who displayed a refreshing sense of diffidence that compelled others to respond well to his desire to revolutionize Sparta: “He must reduce and alter the existing temperament by means of drugs and purges, and introduce a new and different regimen,” (Plutarch, 217). Absent of a Lycurgan influence to ensure “the prevalence of virtue and concord within its borders” (Plutarch, 301), Ibsen’s town slipped into a tyranny of the majority, inept in securing representation of all views in that …show more content…
Even though the people were still free in that they had the right to voice their opinions and exercise their liberties, Lycurgus made certain that everyone from the children to elder members of the state were supplied with enough structure and boundaries to prevent them from becoming susceptible to contaminating the state, effectively censoring Sparta: “For if they gathered in these, they spent their time suitably with one another, making no allusions to the problems of money-making or of exchange, nay, they were chiefly occupied there in praising some noble action or censuring some base one, with jesting and laughter which made the path to instruction and correction easy and natural (Plutarch, 281).” Each facet of guiding dogma in Sparta served a specific purpose in doing one thing, protecting the people from themselves. Lycurgus wanted to guarantee that his people would not be impaired by any self-inflicted wounds. They were going to be protected from harm by being the healthiest, wisest, and most good-natured people that they could be. With regards to Ibsen’s democracy, there was nothing protecting themselves. Aristotle fosters an idea that because man possesses such an immense capacity for knowledge, he has to be lawfully regulated because apart from the necessary infrastructure to prevent humankind from abusing his intelligence and virtue, “he is

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