by Henrik Ibsen

Translated by R Farquharson Sharp

A play in five acts


Dr. Thomas Stockmann, Medical Officer of the Municipal Baths.

Mrs. Stockmann, his wife.

Petra (their daughter) a teacher.

Ejlif & Morten (their sons, aged 13 and 10 respectively).

Peter Stockmann (the Doctor's elder brother), Mayor of the

Town and Chief Constable, Chairman of the Baths' Committee, etc.

Morten Kiil, a tanner (Mrs. Stockmann's adoptive father).

Hovstad, editor of the "People's Messenger."

Billing, sub-editor.

Captain Horster.

Aslaksen, a printer.

Men of various conditions and occupations, a few women, and a

troop of schoolboys--the audience at a public meeting.

The action takes place in a coastal town in southern Norway,






(SCENE.--DR. STOCKMANN'S sitting-room. It is evening. The room is

plainly but neatly appointed and furnished. In the right-hand

wall are two doors; the farther leads out to the hall, the nearer

to the doctor's study. In the left-hand wall, opposite the door

leading to the hall, is a door leading to the other rooms

occupied by the family. In the middle of the same wall stands the

stove, and, further forward, a couch with a looking-glass hanging

over it and an oval table in front of it. On the table, a lighted

lamp, with a lampshade. At the back of the room, an open door

leads to the dining-room. BILLING is seen sitting at the dining

table, on which a lamp is burning. He has a napkin tucked under

his chin, and MRS. STOCKMANN is standing by the table handing him

a large plate-full of roast beef. The other places at the table

are empty, and the table somewhat in disorder, evidently a meal

having recently been finished.)


Mrs. Stockmann. You see, if you come an hour late, Mr. Billing,

you have to put up with cold meat.


Billing (as he eats). It is uncommonly good, thank you--

remarkably good.


Mrs. Stockmann. My husband makes such a point of having his meals

punctually, you know.


Billing. That doesn't affect me a bit. Indeed, I almost think I

enjoy a meal all the better when I can sit down and eat all by

myself, and undisturbed.


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh well, as long as you are enjoying it--. (Turns

to the hall door, listening.) I expect that is Mr. Hovstad coming



Billing. Very likely.


(PETER STOCKMANN comes in. He wears an overcoat and his official

hat, and carries a stick.)


Peter Stockmann. Good evening, Katherine.


Mrs. Stockmann (coming forward into the sitting-room). Ah, good

evening--is it you? How good of you to come up and see us!


Peter Stockmann. I happened to be passing, and so--(looks into

the dining-room). But you have company with you, I see.


Mrs. Stockmann (a little embarrassed). Oh, no--it was quite by

chance he came in. (Hurriedly.) Won't you come in and have

something, too?


Peter Stockmann. I! No, thank you. Good gracious--hot meat at

night! Not with my digestion,


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, but just once in a way--


Peter Stockmann. No, no, my dear lady; I stick to my tea and

bread and butter. It is much more wholesome in the long run--and

a little more economical, too.


Mrs. Stockmann (smiling). Now you mustn't think that Thomas and I

are spendthrifts.


Peter Stockmann. Not you, my dear; I would never think that of

you. (Points to the Doctor's study.) Is he not at home?


Mrs. Stockmann. No, he went out for a little turn after supper--

he and the boys.


Peter Stockmann. I doubt if that is a wise thing to do.

(Listens.) I fancy I hear him coming now.


Mrs. Stockmann. No, I don't think it is he. (A knock is heard at

the door.) Come in! (HOVSTAD comes in from the hall.) Oh, it is

you, Mr. Hovstad!


Hovstad. Yes, I hope you will forgive me, but I was delayed at

the printers. Good evening, Mr. Mayor.


Peter Stockmann (bowing a little distantly). Good evening. You

have come on business, no doubt.


Hovstad. Partly. It's about an article for the paper.


Peter Stockmann. So I imagined. I hear my brother has become a

prolific contributor to the "People's Messenger."


Hovstad. Yes, he is good enough to write in the "People's

Messenger" when he has any home truths to tell.


Mrs, Stockmann (to HOVSTAD). But won't you--? (Points to the



Peter Stockmann. Quite so, quite so. I don't blame him in the

least, as a writer, for addressing himself to the quarters where

he will find the readiest sympathy. And, besides that, I

personally have no reason to bear any ill will to your paper, Mr.



Hovstad. I quite agree with you.


Peter Stockmann. Taking one thing with another, there is an

excellent spirit of toleration in the town--an admirable

municipal spirit. And it all springs from the fact of our having

a great common interest to unite us--an interest that is in an

equally high degree the concern of every right-minded citizen


Hovstad. The Baths, yes.


Peter Stockmann. Exactly---our fine, new, handsome Baths. Mark my

words, Mr. Hovstad--the Baths will become the focus of our

municipal life! Not a doubt of it!


Mrs. Stockmann. That is just what Thomas says.


Peter Stockmann. Think how extraordinarily the place has

developed within the last year or two! Money has been flowing in,

and there is some life and some business doing in the town.

Houses and landed property are rising in value every day.


Hovstad. And unemployment is diminishing,


Peter Stockmann. Yes, that is another thing. The burden on the

poor rates has been lightened, to the great relief of the

propertied classes; and that relief will be even greater if only

we get a really good summer this year, and lots of visitors--

plenty of invalids, who will make the Baths talked about.


Hovstad. And there is a good prospect of that, I hear.


Peter Stockmann. It looks very promising. Inquiries about

apartments and that sort of thing are reaching us, every day.


Hovstad. Well, the doctor's article will come in very suitably.


Peter Stockmann. Has he been writing something just lately?


Hovstad. This is something he wrote in the winter; a

recommendation of the Baths--an account of the excellent sanitary

conditions here. But I held the article over, temporarily.


Peter Stockmann. Ah,--some little difficulty about it, I suppose?


Hovstad. No, not at all; I thought it would be better to wait

until the spring, because it is just at this time that people

begin to think seriously about their summer quarters.


Peter Stockmann. Quite right; you were perfectly right, Mr.



Hovstad. Yes, Thomas is really indefatigable when it is a

question of the Baths.


Peter Stockmann. Well remember, he is the Medical Officer to the



Hovstad. Yes, and what is more, they owe their existence to him.


Peter Stockmann. To him? Indeed! It is true I have heard from

time to time that some people are of that opinion. At the same

time I must say I imagined that I took a modest part in the



Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that is what Thomas is always saying.


Hovstad. But who denies it, Mr. Stockmann? You set the thing

going and made a practical concern of it; we all know that. I

only meant that the idea of it came first from the doctor.


Peter Stockmann. Oh, ideas yes! My brother has had plenty of them

in his time--unfortunately. But when it is a question of putting

an idea into practical shape, you have to apply to a man of

different mettle. Mr. Hovstad. And I certainly should have

thought that in this house at least...


Mrs. Stockmann. My dear Peter--


Hovstad. How can you think that--?


Mrs. Stockmann. Won't you go in and have something, Mr. Hovstad?

My husband is sure to be back directly.


Hovstad. Thank you, perhaps just a morsel. (Goes into the dining-



Peter Stockmann (lowering his voice a little). It is a curious

thing that these farmers' sons never seem to lose their want of



Mrs. Stockmann. Surely it is not worth bothering about! Cannot

you and Thomas share the credit as brothers?


Peter Stockmann. I should have thought so; but apparently some

people are not satisfied with a share.


Mrs. Stockmann. What nonsense! You and Thomas get on so capitally

together. (Listens.) There he is at last, I think. (Goes out and

opens the door leading to the hall.)


Dr. Stockmann (laughing and talking outside). Look here--here is

another guest for you, Katherine. Isn't that jolly! Come in,

Captain Horster; hang your coat up on this peg. Ah, you don't

wear an overcoat. Just think, Katherine; I met him in the street

and could hardly persuade him to come up! (CAPTAIN HORSTER comes

into the room and greets MRS. STOCKMANN. He is followed by DR.

STOCKMANN.) Come along in, boys. They are ravenously hungry

again, you know. Come along, Captain Horster; you must have a

slice of beef. (Pushes HORSTER into the dining-room. EJLIF and

MORTEN go in after them.)


Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas, don't you see--?


Dr. Stockmann (turning in the doorway). Oh, is it you, Peter?

(Shakes hands with him.) Now that is very delightful.


Peter Stockmann. Unfortunately I must go in a moment--


Dr. Stockmann. Rubbish! There is some toddy just coming in. You

haven't forgotten the toddy, Katherine?


Mrs. Stockmann. Of course not; the water is boiling now. (Goes

into the dining-room.)


Peter Stockmann. Toddy too!


Dr, Stockmann. Yes, sit down and we will have it comfortably.


Peter Stockmann. Thanks, I never care about an evening's



Dr. Stockmann. But this isn't an evening's drinking.


Peter Stockmann. It seems to me--. (Looks towards the dining-

room.) It is extraordinary how they can put away all that food.


Dr. Stockmann (rubbing his hands). Yes, isn't it splendid to see

young people eat? They have always got an appetite, you know!

That's as it should be. Lots of food--to build up their strength!

They are the people who are going to stir up the fermenting

forces of the future, Peter.


Peter Stockmann. May I ask what they will find here to "stir up,"

as you put it?


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, you must ask the young people that--when the

times comes. We shan't be able to see it, of course. That stands

to reason--two old fogies, like us.


Peter Stockmann. Really, really! I must say that is an extremely

odd expression to--


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, you mustn't take me too literally, Peter. I am

so heartily happy and contented, you know. I think it is such an

extraordinary piece of good fortune to be in the middle of all

this growing, germinating life. It is a splendid time to live in!

It is as if a whole new world were being created around one.


Peter Stockmann. Do you really think so?


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, naturally you can't appreciate it as keenly as

I. You have lived all your life in these surroundings, and your

impressions have been blunted. But I, who have been buried all

these years in my little corner up north, almost without ever

seeing a stranger who might bring new ideas with him--well, in

my case it has just the same effect as if I had been transported

into the middle of a crowded city.


Peter Stockmann. Oh, a city--!


Dr. Stockmann. I know, I know; it is all cramped enough here,

compared with many other places. But there is life here--there is

promise--there are innumerable things to work for and fight for;

and that is the main thing. (Calls.) Katherine, hasn't the

postman been here?


Mrs. Stockmann (from the dining-room). No.


Dr. Stockmann. And then to be comfortably off, Peter! That is

something one learns to value, when one has been on the brink of

starvation, as we have.


Peter Stockmann. Oh, surely--


Dr. Stockmann. Indeed I can assure you we have often been very

hard put to it, up there. And now to be able to live like a lord!

Today, for instance, we had roast beef for dinner--and, what is

more, for supper too. Won't you come and have a little bit? Or

let me show it you, at any rate? Come here--


Peter Stockmann. No, no--not for worlds!


Dr. Stockmann. Well, but just come here then. Do you see, we have

got a table-cover?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, I noticed it.


Dr. Stockmann. And we have got a lamp-shade too. Do you see? All

out of Katherine's savings! It makes the room so cosy. Don't you

think so? Just stand here for a moment--no, no, not there--just

here, that's it! Look now, when you get the light on it

altogether. I really think it looks very nice, doesn't it?


Peter Stockmann. Oh, if you can afford luxuries of this kind--


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I can afford it now. Katherine tells me I

earn almost as much as we spend.


Peter Stockmann. Almost--yes!


Dr. Stockmann. But a scientific man must live in a little bit of

style. I am quite sure an ordinary civil servant spends more in a

year than I do.


Peter Stockmann. I daresay. A civil servant--a man in a well-paid



Dr. Stockmann. Well, any ordinary merchant, then! A man in that

position spends two or three times as much as--


Peter Stockmann. It just depends on circumstances.


Dr. Stockmann. At all events I assure you I don't waste money

unprofitably. But I can't find it in my heart to deny myself the

pleasure of entertaining my friends. I need that sort of thing,

you know. I have lived for so long shut out of it all, that it is

a necessity of life to me to mix with young, eager, ambitious

men, men of liberal and active minds; and that describes every

one of those fellows who are enjoying their supper in there. I

wish you knew more of Hovstad.


Peter Stockmann. By the way, Hovstad was telling me he was going

to print another article of yours.


Dr. Stockmann. An article of mine?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, about the Baths. An article you wrote in

the winter.


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, that one! No, I don't intend that to appear

just for the present.


Peter Stockmann. Why not? It seems to me that this would be the

most opportune moment.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, very likely--under normal conditions.

(Crosses the room.)


Peter Stockmann (following him with his eyes). Is there anything

abnormal about the present conditions?


Dr. Stockmann (standing still). To tell you the truth, Peter, I

can't say just at this moment--at all events not tonight. There

may be much that is very abnormal about the present conditions--

and it is possible there may be nothing abnormal about them at

all. It is quite possible it may be merely my imagination.


Peter Stockmann. I must say it all sounds most mysterious. Is

there something going on that I am to be kept in ignorance of? I

should have imagined that I, as Chairman of the governing body of

the Baths--


Dr. Stockmann. And I should have imagined that I--. Oh, come,

don't let us fly out at one another, Peter.


Peter Stockmann. Heaven forbid! I am not in the habit of flying

out at people, as you call it. But I am entitled to request most

emphatically that all arrangements shall be made in a

businesslike manner, through the proper channels, and shall be

dealt with by the legally constituted authorities. I can allow no

going behind our backs by any roundabout means.


Dr. Stockmann. Have I ever at any time tried to go behind your



Peter Stockmann. You have an ingrained tendency to take your own

way, at all events; and, that is almost equally inadmissible in a

well ordered community, The individual ought undoubtedly to

acquiesce in subordinating himself to the community--or, to speak

more accurately, to the authorities who have the care of the

community's welfare.


Dr. Stockmann. Very likely. But what the deuce has all this got

to do with me?


Peter Stockmann. That is exactly what you never appear to be

willing to learn, my dear Thomas. But, mark my words, some day

you will have to suffer for it--sooner or later. Now I have told

you. Good-bye.


Dr. Stockmann. Have you taken leave of your senses? You are on

the wrong scent altogether.


Peter Stockmann. I am not usually that. You must excuse me now if

I-- (calls into the dining-room). Good night, Katherine. Good

night, gentlemen. (Goes out.)


Mrs. Stockmann (coming from the dining-room). Has he gone?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and in such a bad temper.


Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, what have you been doing to him



Dr. Stockmann. Nothing at all. And, anyhow, he can't oblige me to

make my report before the proper time.


Mrs. Stockmann. What have you got to make a report to him about?


Dr. Stockmann. Hm! Leave that to me, Katherine. It is an

extraordinary thing that the postman doesn't come.


(HOVSTAD, BILLING and HORSTER have got up from the table and come

into the sitting-room. EJLIF and MORTEN come in after them.)


Billing (stretching himself). Ah!--one feels a new man after a

meal like that.


Hovstad. The mayor wasn't in a very sweet temper tonight, then.


Dr. Stockmann. It is his stomach; he has wretched digestion.


Hovstad. I rather think it was us two of the "People's Messenger"

that he couldn't digest.


Mrs. Stockmann. I thought you came out of it pretty well with



Hovstad. Oh yes; but it isn't anything more than a sort of truce.


Billing. That is just what it is! That word sums up the



Dr. Stockmann. We must remember that Peter is a lonely man, poor

chap. He has no home comforts of any kind; nothing but

everlasting business. And all that infernal weak tea wash that he

pours into himself! Now then, my boys, bring chairs up to the

table. Aren't we going to have that toddy, Katherine?


Mrs. Stockmann (going into the dining-room). I am just getting



Dr. Stockmann. Sit down here on the couch beside me, Captain

Horster. We so seldom see you. Please sit down, my friends.

(They sit down at the table. MRS. STOCKMANN brings a tray, with a

spirit-lamp, glasses, bottles, etc., upon it.)


Mrs. Stockmann. There you are! This is arrack, and this is rum,

and this one is the brandy. Now every one must help themselves.


Dr. Stockmann (taking a glass). We will. (They all mix themselves

some toddy.) And let us have the cigars. Ejlif, you know where

the box is. And you, Morten, can fetch my pipe. (The two boys go

into the room on the right.) I have a suspicion that Ejlif

pockets a cigar now and then!--but I take no notice of it. (Calls

out.) And my smoking-cap too, Morten. Katherine, you can tell him

where I left it. Ah, he has got it. (The boys bring the various

things.) Now, my friends. I stick to my pipe, you know. This one

has seen plenty of bad weather with me up north. (Touches glasses

with them.) Your good health! Ah, it is good to be sitting snug

and warm here,


Mrs. Stockmann (who sits knitting). Do you sail soon, Captain



Horster. I expect to be ready to sail next week.


Mrs. Stockmann. I suppose you are going to America?


Horster. Yes, that is the plan.


Mrs. Stockmann. Then you won't be able to take part in the coming



Horster. Is there going to be an election?


Billing. Didn't you know?


Horster. No, I don't mix myself up with those things.


Billing. But do you not take an interest in public affairs?


Horster. No, I don't know anything about politics.


Billing. All the same, one ought to vote, at any rate.


Horster. Even if one doesn't know anything about what is going



Billing. Doesn't know! What do you mean by that? A community is

like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.


Horster. Maybe that is all very well on shore; but on board ship

it wouldn't work.


Hovstad. It is astonishing how little most sailors care about

what goes on on shore.


Billing. Very extraordinary.


Dr. Stockmann. Sailors are like birds of passage; they feel

equally at home in any latitude. And that is only an additional

reason for our being all the more keen, Hovstad. Is there to be

anything of public interest in tomorrow's "Messenger"?


Hovstad. Nothing about municipal affairs. But the day after

tomorrow I was thinking of printing your article--


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, devil take it--my article! Look here, that

must wait a bit.


Hovstad. Really? We had just got convenient space for it, and I

thought it was just the opportune moment--


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes, very likely you are right; but it must

wait all the same. I will explain to you later. (PETRA comes in

from the hall, in hat and cloak and with a bundle of exercise

books under her arm.)


Petra. Good evening.


Dr. Stockmann. Good evening, Petra; come along.


(Mutual greetings; PETRA takes off her things and puts them down

on a chair by the door.)


Petra. And you have all been sitting here enjoying yourselves,

while I have been out slaving!


Dr. Stockmann. Well, come and enjoy yourself too!


Billing. May I mix a glass for you?


Petra (coming to the table). Thanks, I would rather do it; you

always mix it too strong. But I forgot, father--I have a letter

for you. (Goes to the chair where she has laid her things.)


Dr. Stockmann. A letter? From whom?


Petra (looking in her coat pocket). The postman gave it to me

just as I was going out.


Dr. Stockmann (getting up and going to her). And you only give to

me now!


Petra. I really had not time to run up again. There it is!


Dr. Stockmann (seizing the letter). Let's see, let's see, child!

(Looks at the address.) Yes, that's all right!


Mrs. Stockmann. Is it the one you have been expecting go

anxiously, Thomas?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, it is. I must go to my room now and-- Where

shall I get a light, Katherine? Is there no lamp in my room



Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, your lamp is already lit on your desk.


Dr. Stockmann. Good, good. Excuse me for a moment--, (Goes into

his study.)


Petra. What do you suppose it is, mother?


Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know; for the last day or two he has

always been asking if the postman has not been,


Billing. Probably some country patient.


Petra. Poor old dad!--he will overwork himself soon. (Mixes a

glass for herself.) There, that will taste good!


Hovstad. Have you been teaching in the evening school again



Petra (sipping from her glass). Two hours.


Billing. And four hours of school in the morning?


Petra. Five hours.


Mrs. Stockmann. And you have still got exercises to correct, I



Petra. A whole heap, yes.


Horster. You are pretty full up with work too, it seems to me.


Petra. Yes--but that is good. One is so delightfully tired after



Billing. Do you like that?


Petra. Yes, because one sleeps so well then.


Morten. You must be dreadfully wicked, Petra.


Petra. Wicked?


Morten. Yes, because you work so much. Mr. Rorlund says work is a

punishment for our sins.


Ejlif. Pooh, what a duffer, you are, to believe a thing like



Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Ejlif!


Billing (laughing). That's capital!


Hovstad. Don't you want to work as hard as that, Morten?


Morten. No, indeed I don't.


Hovstad. What do you want to be, then?


Morten. I should like best to be a Viking,


Ejlif. You would have to be a pagan then.


Morten. Well, I could become a pagan, couldn't I?


Billing. I agree with you, Morten! My sentiments, exactly.


Mrs. Stockmann (signalling to him). I am sure that is not true,

Mr. Billing.


Billing. Yes, I swear it is! I am a pagan, and I am proud of it.

Believe me, before long we shall all be pagans.


Morten. And then shall be allowed to do anything we like?


Billing. Well, you'll see, Morten.


Mrs. Stockmann. You must go to your room now, boys; I am sure you

have some lessons to learn for tomorrow.


Ejlif. I should like so much to stay a little longer--


Mrs. Stockmann. No, no; away you go, both of you, (The boys say

good night and go into the room on the left.)


Hovstad. Do you really think it can do the boys any harm to hear

such things?


Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know; but I don't like it.


Petra. But you know, mother, I think you really are wrong about



Mrs. Stockmann. Maybe, but I don't like it--not in our own home.


Petra. There is so much falsehood both at home and at school. At

home one must not speak, and at school we have to stand and tell

lies to the children.


Horster. Tell lies?


Petra. Yes, don't you suppose we have to teach them all sorts of

things that we don't believe?


Billing. That is perfectly true.


Petra. If only I had the means, I would start a school of my own;

and it would be conducted on very different lines.


Billing. Oh, bother the means--!


Horster. Well if you are thinking of that, Miss Stockmann, I

shall be delighted to provide you with a schoolroom. The great

big old house my father left me is standing almost empty; there

is an immense dining-room downstairs--


Petra (laughing). Thank you very much; but I am afraid nothing

will come of it.


Hovstad. No, Miss Petra is much more likely to take to

journalism, I expect. By the way, have you had time to do

anything with that English story you promised to translate for



Petra. No, not yet, but you shall have it in good time.


(DR. STOCKMANN comes in from his room with an open letter in his



Dr. Stockmann (waving the letter). Well, now the town will have

something new to talk about, I can tell you!


Billing. Something new?


Mrs. Stockmann. What is this?


Dr. Stockmann. A great discovery, Katherine.


Hovstad. Really?


Mrs. Stockmann. A discovery of yours?


Dr. Stockmann. A discovery of mine. (Walks up and down.) Just let

them come saying, as usual, that it is all fancy and a crazy

man's imagination! But they will be careful what they say this

time, I can tell you!


Petra. But, father, tell us what it is.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, yes--only give me time, and you shall know

all about it. If only I had Peter here now! It just shows how we

men can go about forming our judgments, when in reality we are as

blind as any moles--


Hovstad. What are you driving at, Doctor?


Dr. Stockmann (standing still by the table). Isn't it the

universal opinion that our town is a healthy spot?


Hovstad. Certainly.


Dr. Stockmann. Quite an unusually healthy spot, in fact--a place

that deserves to be recommended in the warmest possible manner

either for invalids or for people who are well--


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, but my dear Thomas--


Dr. Stockmann. And we have been recommending it and praising it--

I have written and written, both in the "Messenger" and in



Hovstad. Well, what then?


Dr. Stockmann. And the Baths--we have called them the "main

artery of the town's life-blood," the "nerve-centre of our town,"

and the devil knows what else--


Billing. "The town's pulsating heart" was the expression I once

used on an important occasion.


Dr. Stockmann. Quite so. Well, do you know what they really are,

these great, splendid, much praised Baths, that have cost so much

money--do you know what they are?


Hovstad. No, what are they?


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, what are they?


Dr. Stockmann. The whole place is a pest-house!


Petra. The Baths, father?


Mrs. Stockmann (at the same time), Our Baths?


Hovstad. But, Doctor--


Billing. Absolutely incredible!


Dr. Stockmann. The whole Bath establishment is a whited, poisoned

sepulchre, I tell you--the gravest possible danger to the public

health! All the nastiness up at Molledal, all that stinking

filth, is infecting the water in the conduit-pipes leading to the

reservoir; and the same cursed, filthy poison oozes out on the

shore too--


Horster. Where the bathing-place is?


Dr. Stockmann. Just there.


Hovstad. How do you come to be so certain of all this, Doctor?


Dr. Stockmann. I have investigated the matter most

conscientiously. For a long time past I have suspected something

of the kind. Last year we had some very strange cases of illness

among the visitors--typhoid cases, and cases of gastric fever--


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that is quite true.


Dr. Stockmann. At the time, we supposed the visitors had been

infected before they came; but later on, in the winter, I began

to have a different opinion; and so I set myself to examine the

water, as well as I could.


Mrs. Stockmann. Then that is what you have been so busy with?


Dr. Stockmann. Indeed I have been busy, Katherine. But here I had

none of the necessary scientific apparatus; so I sent samples,

both of the drinking-water and of the sea-water, up to the

University, to have an accurate analysis made by a chemist.


Hovstad. And have you got that?


Dr. Stockmann (showing him the letter). Here it is! It proves the

presence of decomposing organic matter in the water--it is full

of infusoria. The water is absolutely dangerous to use, either

internally or externally.


Mrs. Stockmann. What a mercy you discovered it in time.


Dr. Stockmann. You may well say so.


Hovstad. And what do you propose to do now, Doctor?


Dr. Stockmann. To see the matter put right, naturally.


Hovstad. Can that be done?


Dr. Stockmann. It must be done. Otherwise the Baths will be

absolutely useless and wasted. But we need not anticipate that; I

have a very clear idea what we shall have to do.


Mrs. Stockmann. But why have you kept this all so secret, dear?


Dr. Stockmann. Do you suppose I was going to run about the town

gossiping about it, before I had absolute proof? No, thank you. I

am not such a fool.


Petra. Still, you might have told us--


Dr. Stockmann. Not a living soul. But tomorrow you may run around

to the old Badger--


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, Thomas! Thomas!


Dr. Stockmann. Well, to your grandfather, then. The old boy will

have something to be astonished at! I know he thinks I am

cracked--and there are lots of other people who think so too, I have

noticed. But now these good folks shall see--they shall just see!

(Walks about, rubbing his hands.) There will be a nice upset

in the town, Katherine; you can't imagine what it will be. All

the conduit-pipes will have to be relaid.


Hovstad (getting up). All the conduit-pipes--?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, of course. The intake is too low down; it

will have to be lifted to a position much higher up.


Petra. Then you were right after all.


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, you remember, Petra--I wrote opposing the

plans before the work was begun. But at that time no one would

listen to me. Well, I am going to let them have it now.  Of

course I have prepared a report for the Baths Committee; I have

had it ready for a week, and was only waiting for this to come.

(Shows the letter.) Now it shall go off at once. (Goes into his

room and comes back with some papers.) Look at that! Four closely

written sheets!--and the letter shall go with them. Give me a bit

of paper, Katherine--something to wrap them up in. That will do!

Now give it to-to-(stamps his foot)--what the deuce is her name?

--give it to the maid, and tell her to take it at once to the



(Mrs. Stockmann takes the packet and goes out through the dining-



Petra. What do you think Uncle Peter will say, father?


Dr. Stockmann. What is there for him to say? I should think he

would be very glad that such an important truth has been brought

to light.


Hovstad. Will you let me print a short note about your discovery

in the "Messenger?"


Dr. Stockmann. I shall be very much obliged if you will.


Hovstad. It is very desirable that the public should be informed

of it without delay.


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly.


Mrs. Stockmann (coming back). She has just gone with it.


Billing. Upon my soul, Doctor, you are going to be the foremost

man in the town!


 Dr. Stockmann (walking about happily). Nonsense! As a matter of

fact I have done nothing more than my duty. I have only made a

lucky find--that's all. Still, all the same...


Billing. Hovstad, don't you think the town ought to give Dr.

Stockmann some sort of testimonial?


Hovstad. I will suggest it, anyway.


Billing. And I will speak to Aslaksen about it.


Dr. Stockmann. No, my good friends, don't let us have any of that

nonsense. I won't hear anything of the kind. And if the Baths

Committee should think of voting me an increase of salary, I will

not accept it.  Do you hear, Katherine?--I won't accept it.


Mrs. Stockmann. You are quite right, Thomas.


Petra (lifting her glass). Your health, father!


Hovstad and Billing. Your health, Doctor! Good health!


Horster (touches glasses with DR. STOCKMANN). I hope it will

bring you nothing but good luck.


Dr. Stockmann. Thank you, thank you, my dear fellows! I feel

tremendously happy! It is a splendid thing for a man to be able

to feel that he has done a service to his native town and to his

fellow-citizens. Hurrah, Katherine! (He puts his arms round her

and whirls her round and round, while she protests with laughing

cries. They all laugh, clap their hands, and cheer the DOCTOR.

The boys put their heads in at the door to see what is going on.)




(SCENE,--The same. The door into the dining room is shut. It is

morning. MRS. STOCKMANN, with a sealed letter in her hand, comes

in from the dining room, goes to the door of the DOCTOR'S study,

and peeps in.)


Mrs. Stockmann. Are you in, Thomas?


Dr. Stockmann (from within his room). Yes, I have just come in.

(Comes into the room.) What is it?


Mrs. Stockmann. A letter from your brother.


Dr. Stockmann. Aha, let us see! (Opens the letter and reads:) "I

return herewith the manuscript you sent me" (reads on in a low

murmur) H'm!--


Mrs. Stockmann. What does he say?


Dr. Stockmann (putting the papers in his pocket). Oh, he only

writes that he will come up here himself about midday.


Mrs. Stockmann. Well, try and remember to be at home this time.


Dr. Stockmann. That will be all right; I have got through all my

morning visits.


Mrs. Stockmann. I am extremely curious to know how he takes it.


Dr. Stockmann. You will see he won't like it's having been I, and

not he, that made the discovery.


Mrs. Stockmann. Aren't you a little nervous about that?


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, he really will be pleased enough, you know.

But, at the same time, Peter is so confoundedly afraid of

anyone's doing any service to the town except himself.


Mrs. Stockmann. I will tell you what, Thomas--you should be good

natured, and share the credit of this with him. Couldn't you make

out that it was he who set you on the scent of this discovery?


Dr. Stockmann. I am quite willing. If only I can get the thing

set right. I--


(MORTEN KIIL puts his head in through the door leading from the

hall, looks around in an enquiring manner, and chuckles.)


Morten Kiil (slyly). Is it--is it true?


Mrs. Stockmann (going to the door). Father!--is it you?


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, Mr. Kiil--good morning, good morning!


Mrs. Stockmann. But come along in.


Morten Kiil. If it is true, I will; if not, I am off.


Dr. Stockmann. If what is true?


Morten Kiil. This tale about the water supply, is it true?


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly it is true, but how did you come to hear



Morten Kid (coming in). Petra ran in on her way to the school--


Dr. Stockmann. Did she?


Morten Kiil. Yes; and she declares that--I thought she was only

making a fool of me--but it isn't like Petra to do that.


Dr. Stockmann. Of course not. How could you imagine such a thing!


Morten Kiil. Oh well, it is better never to trust anybody; you

may find you have been made a fool of before you know where you

are. But it is really true, all the same?


Dr. Stockmann. You can depend upon it that it is true. Won't you

sit down? (Settles him on the couch.) Isn't it a real bit of luck

for the town--


Morten Kiil (suppressing his laughter). A bit of luck for the



Dr. Stockmann. Yes, that I made the discovery in good time.


Morten Kiil (as before). Yes, yes, Yes!--But I should never have

thought you the sort of man to pull your own brother's leg like



Dr. Stockmann. Pull his leg!


Mrs. Stockmann. Really, father dear--


Morten Kiil (resting his hands and his chin on the handle of his

stick and winking slyly at the DOCTOR). Let me see, what was the

story? Some kind of beast that had got into the water-pipes,

wasn't it?


Dr. Stockmann. Infusoria--yes.


Morten Kiil. And a lot of these beasts had got in, according to

Petra--a tremendous lot.


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly; hundreds of thousands of them,



Morten Kiil. But no one can see them--isn't that so?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes; you can't see them,


Morten Kiil (with a quiet chuckle). Damn--it's the finest story

I have ever heard!


Dr. Stockmann. What do you mean?


Morten Kiil. But you will never get the Mayor to believe a thing

like that.


Dr. Stockmann. We shall see.


Morten Kiil. Do you think he will be fool enough to--?


Dr. Stockmann. I hope the whole town will be fools enough.


Morten Kiil. The whole town! Well, it wouldn't be a bad thing. It

would just serve them right, and teach them a lesson. They think

themselves so much cleverer than we old fellows. They hounded me

out of the council; they did, I tell you--they hounded me out.

Now they shall pay for it. You pull their legs too, Thomas!


Dr. Stockmann. Really, I--


Morten Kiil. You pull their legs! (Gets up.) If you can work it

so that the Mayor and his friends all swallow the same bait, I

will give ten pounds to a charity--like a shot!


Dr. Stockmann. That is very kind of you.


Morten Kiil. Yes, I haven't got much money to throw away, I can

tell you; but, if you can work this, I will give five pounds to a

charity at Christmas.


(HOVSTAD comes in by the hall door.)


Hovstad. Good morning! (Stops.) Oh, I beg your pardon


Dr. Stockmann. Not at all; come in.


Morten Kiil (with another chuckle). Oho!--is he in this too?


Hovstad. What do you mean?


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly he is.


Morten Kiil. I might have known it! It must get into the papers.

You know how to do it, Thomas! Set your wits to work. Now I must



Dr. Stockmann. Won't you stay a little while?


Morten Kiil. No, I must be off now. You keep up this game for all

it is worth; you won't repent it, I'm damned if you will!


(He goes out; MRS. STOCKMANN follows him into the hall.)


Dr. Stockmann (laughing). Just imagine--the old chap doesn't

believe a word of all this about the water supply.


Hovstad. Oh that was it, then?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, that was what we were talking about. Perhaps

it is the same thing that brings you here?


Hovstad. Yes, it is, Can you spare me a few minutes, Doctor?


Dr. Stockmann. As long as you like, my dear fellow.


Hovstad. Have you heard from the Mayor yet?


Dr. Stockmann. Not yet. He is coming here later.


Hovstad. I have given the matter a great deal of thought since

last night.


Dr. Stockmann. Well?


Hovstad. From your point of view, as a doctor and a man of

science, this affair of the water supply is an isolated matter. I

mean, you do not realise that it involves a great many other



Dr. Stockmann. How, do you mean?--Let us sit down, my dear

fellow. No, sit here on the couch. (HOVSTAD Sits down on the

couch, DR. STOCKMANN On a chair on the other side of the table.)

Now then. You mean that--?


Hovstad. You said yesterday that the pollution of the water was

due to impurities in the soil.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, unquestionably it is due to that poisonous

morass up at Molledal.


Hovstad. Begging your pardon, Doctor, I fancy it is due to quite

another morass altogether.


Dr. Stockmann. What morass?


Hovstad. The morass that the whole life of our town is built on

and is rotting in.


Dr. Stockmann. What the deuce are you driving at, Hovstad?


Hovstad. The whole of the town's interests have, little by

little, got into the hands of a pack of officials.


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, come!--they are not all officials.


Hovstad. No, but those that are not officials are at any rate the

officials' friends and adherents; it is the wealthy folk, the old

families in the town, that have got us entirely in their hands.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, but after all they are men of ability and



Hovstad. Did they show any ability or knowledge when they laid

the conduit pipes where they are now?


Dr. Stockmann. No, of course that was a great piece of stupidity

on their part. But that is going to be set right now.


Hovstad. Do you think that will be all such plain sailing?


Dr. Stockmann. Plain sailing or no, it has got to be done,



Hovstad. Yes, provided the press takes up the question.


Dr. Stockmann. I don't think that will be necessary, my dear

fellow, I am certain my brother--


Hovstad. Excuse me, doctor; I feel bound to tell you I am

inclined to take the matter up.


Dr. Stockmann. In the paper?


Hovstad. Yes. When I took over the "People's Messenger" my idea

was to break up this ring of self-opinionated old fossils who had

got hold of all the influence.


Dr. Stockmann. But you know you told me yourself what the result

had been; you nearly ruined your paper.


Hovstad. Yes, at the time we were obliged to climb down a peg or

two, it is quite true--because there was a danger of the whole

project of the Baths coming to nothing if they failed us. But now

the scheme has been carried through, and we can dispense with

these grand gentlemen.


Dr. Stockmann. Dispense with them, yes; but, we owe them a great

debt of gratitude.


Hovstad. That shall be recognised ungrudgingly, But a journalist

of my  democratic tendencies cannot let such an opportunity as

this slip. The bubble of official infallibility must be pricked.

This superstition must be destroyed, like any other.


Dr. Stockmann. I am whole-heartedly with you in that, Mr.

Hovstad; if it is a superstition, away with it!


Hovstad. I should be very reluctant to bring the Mayor into it,

because he is your brother. But I am sure you will agree with me

that truth should be the first consideration.


Dr. Stockmann. That goes without saying. (With sudden emphasis.)

Yes, but--but--


Hovstad. You must not misjudge me. I am neither more self-

interested nor more ambitious than most men.


Dr. Stockmann. My dear fellow--who suggests anything of the kind?


Hovstad. I am of humble origin, as you know; and that has given

me opportunities of knowing what is the most crying need in the

humbler ranks of life. It is that they should be allowed some

part in the direction of public affairs, Doctor. That is what

will develop their faculties and intelligence and self respect--


Dr. Stockmann. I quite appreciate that.


Hovstad. Yes--and in my opinion a journalist incurs a heavy

responsibility if he neglects a favourable opportunity of

emancipating the masses--the humble and oppressed. I know well

enough that in exalted circles I shall be called an agitator, and

all that sort of thing; but they may call what they like. If only

my conscience doesn't reproach me, then--


Dr. Stockmann. Quite right! Quite right, Mr. Hovstad. But all the

same--devil take it! (A knock is heard at the door.) Come in!


(ASLAKSEN appears at the door. He is poorly but decently dressed,

in black, with a slightly crumpled white neckcloth; he wears

gloves and has a felt hat in his hand.)


Aslaksen (bowing). Excuse my taking the liberty, Doctor--


Dr. Stockmann (getting up). Ah, it is you, Aslaksen!


Aslaksen. Yes, Doctor.


Hovstad (standing up). Is it me you want, Aslaksen?


Aslaksen. No; I didn't know I should find you here. No, it was

the Doctor I--


Dr. Stockmann. I am quite at your service. What is it?


Aslaksen. Is what I heard from Mr. Billing true, sir--that you

mean to improve our water supply?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, for the Baths.


Aslaksen. Quite so, I understand. Well, I have come to say that I

will back that up by every means in my power.


Hovstad (to the DOCTOR). You see!


Dr. Stockmann. I shall be very grateful to you, but--


Aslaksen. Because it may be no bad thing to have us small

tradesmen at your back. We form, as it were, a compact majority

in the town--if we choose. And it is always a good thing to have

the majority with you, Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. That is undeniably true; but I confess I don't see

why such unusual precautions should be necessary in this case. It

seems to me that such a plain, straightforward thing.


Aslaksen. Oh, it may be very desirable, all the same. I know our

local authorities so well; officials are not generally very ready

to act on proposals that come from other people. That is why I

think it would not be at all amiss if we made a little



Hovstad. That's right.


Dr. Stockmann. Demonstration, did you say? What on earth are you

going to make a demonstration about?


Aslaksen. We shall proceed with the greatest moderation, Doctor.

Moderation is always my aim; it is the greatest virtue in a

citizen--at least, I think so.


Dr. Stockmann. It is well known to be a characteristic of yours,

Mr. Aslaksen.


Aslaksen. Yes, I think I may pride myself on that. And this

matter of the water supply is of the greatest importance to us

small tradesmen. The Baths promise to be a regular gold-mine for

the town. We shall all make our living out of them, especially

those of us who are householders. That is why we will back up the

project as strongly as possible. And as I am at present Chairman

of the Householders' Association.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes--?


Aslaksen. And, what is more, local secretary of the Temperance

Society--you know, sir, I suppose, that I am a worker in the

temperance cause?


Dr, Stockmann. Of course, of course.


Aslaksen. Well, you can understand that I come into contact with

a great many people. And as I have the reputation of a temperate

and law-abiding citizen--like yourself, Doctor--I have a certain

influence in the town, a little bit of power, if I may be allowed

to say so.


Dr. Stockmann. I know that quite well, Mr. Aslaksen.


Aslaksen. So you see it would be an easy matter for me to set on

foot some testimonial, if necessary.


Dr. Stockmann. A testimonial?


Aslaksen. Yes, some kind of an address of thanks from the

townsmen for your share in a matter of such importance to the

community. I need scarcely say that it would have to be drawn up

with the greatest regard to moderation, so as not to offend the

authorities--who, after all, have the reins in their hands. If we

pay strict attention to that, no one can take it amiss, I should



Hovstad. Well, and even supposing they didn't like it--


Aslaksen. No, no, no; there must be no discourtesy to the

authorities, Mr. Hovstad. It is no use falling foul of those upon

whom our welfare so closely depends. I have done that in my time,

and no good ever comes of it. But no one can take exception to a

reasonable and frank expression of a citizen's views.


Dr. Stockmann (shaking him by the hand). I can't tell you, dear

Mr. Aslaksen, how extremely pleased I am to find such hearty

support among my fellow-citizens. I am delighted--delighted! Now,

you will take a small glass of sherry, eh?


Aslaksen. No, thank you; I never drink alcohol of that kind.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, what do you say to a glass of beer, then?


Aslaksen. Nor that either, thank you, Doctor. I never drink

anything as early as this. I am going into town now to talk this

over with one or two householders, and prepare the ground.


Dr. Stockmann. It is tremendously kind of you, Mr. Aslaksen; but

I really cannot understand the necessity for all these

precautions. It seems to me that the thing should go of itself.


Aslaksen. The authorities are somewhat slow to move, Doctor. Far

be it from me to seem to blame them--


Hovstad. We are going to stir them up in the paper tomorrow,



Aslaksen. But not violently, I trust, Mr. Hovstad. Proceed with

moderation, or you will do nothing with them. You may take my

advice; I have gathered my experience in the school of life.

Well, I must say goodbye, Doctor. You know now that we small

tradesmen are at your back at all events, like a solid wall. You

have the compact majority on your side Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. I am very much obliged, dear Mr. Aslaksen, (Shakes

hands with him.) Goodbye, goodbye.


Aslaksen. Are you going my way, towards the printing-office. Mr.



Hovstad, I will come later; I have something to settle up first.


Aslaksen. Very well. (Bows and goes out; STOCKMANN follows him

into the hall.)


Hovstad (as STOCKMANN comes in again). Well, what do you think of

that, Doctor? Don't you think it is high time we stirred a little

life into all this slackness and vacillation and cowardice?


Dr. Stockmann. Are you referring to Aslaksen?


Hovstad, Yes, I am. He is one of those who are floundering in a

bog--decent enough fellow though he may be, otherwise. And most

of the people here are in just the same case--see-sawing and

edging first to one side and then to the other, so overcome with

caution and scruple that they never dare to take any decided



Dr. Stockmann, Yes, but Aslaksen seemed to me so thoroughly well-



Hovstad. There is one thing I esteem higher than that; and that

is for a man to be self-reliant and sure of himself.


Dr. Stockmann. I think you are perfectly right there.


Hovstad. That is why I want to seize this opportunity, and try if

I cannot manage to put a little virility into these well-

intentioned people for once. The idol of Authority must be

shattered in this town. This gross and inexcusable blunder about

the water supply must be brought home to the mind of every

municipal voter.


Dr. Stockmann. Very well; if you are of opinion that it is for

the good of the community, so be it. But not until I have had a

talk with my brother.


Hovstad. Anyway, I will get a leading article ready; and if the

Mayor refuses to take the matter up--


Dr. Stockmann. How can you suppose such a thing possible!


Hovstad. It is conceivable. And in that case--


Dr. Stockmann. In that case I promise you--. Look here, in that

case you may print my report--every word of it.


Hovstad. May I? Have I your word for it?


Dr. Stockmann (giving him the MS.). Here it is; take it with you.

It can do no harm for you to read it through, and you can give it

me back later on.


Hovstad. Good, good! That is what I will do. And now goodbye,



Dr. Stockmann. Goodbye, goodbye. You will see everything will

run quite smoothly, Mr. Hovstad--quite smoothly.


Hovstad. Hm!--we shall see. (Bows and goes out.)


Dr. Stockmann (opens the dining-room door and looks in).

Katherine! Oh, you are back, Petra?


Petra (coming in). Yes, I have just come from the school.


Mrs. Stockmann (coming in). Has he not been here yet?


Dr. Stockmann. Peter? No, but I have had a long talk with

Hovstad. He is quite excited about my discovery, I find it has a

much wider bearing than I at first imagined. And he has put his

paper at my disposal if necessity should arise.


Mrs. Stockmann. Do you think it will?


Dr. Stockmann. Not for a moment. But at all events it makes me

feel proud to know that I have the liberal-minded independent

press on my side. Yes, and just imagine--I have had a visit from

the Chairman of the Householders' Association!


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh! What did he want?


Dr. Stockmann. To offer me his support too. They will support me

in a body if it should be necessary. Katherine--do you know what

I have got behind me?


Mrs. Stockmann. Behind you? No, what have you got behind you?


Dr. Stockmann. The compact majority.


Mrs. Stockmann. Really? Is that a good thing for you Thomas?


Dr. Stockmann. I should think it was a good thing. (Walks up and

down rubbing his hands.) By Jove, it's a fine thing to feel this

bond of brotherhood between oneself and one's fellow citizens!


Petra. And to be able to do so much that is good and useful,



Dr. Stockmann. And for one's own native town into the bargain, my



Mrs. Stockmann. That was a ring at the bell.


Dr. Stockmann. It must be he, then. (A knock is heard at the

door.) Come in!


Peter Stockmann (comes in from the hall). Good morning.


Dr. Stockmann. Glad to see you, Peter!


Mrs. Stockmann. Good morning, Peter, How are you?


Peter Stockmann. So so, thank you. (To DR. STOCKMANN.) I received

from you yesterday, after office hours, a report dealing with the

condition of the water at the Baths.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes. Have you read it?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, I have,


Dr. Stockmann. And what have you to say to it?


Peter Stockmann (with a sidelong glance). Hm!--


Mrs. Stockmann. Come along, Petra. (She and PETRA go into the

room on the left.)


Peter Stockmann (after a pause). Was it necessary to make all

these investigations behind my back?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, because until I was absolutely certain about



Peter Stockmann. Then you mean that you are absolutely certain



Dr. Stockmann. Surely you are convinced of that.


Peter Stockmann. Is it your intention to bring this document

before the Baths Committee as a sort of official communication?


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly. Something must be done in the matter--

and that quickly.


Peter Stockmann. As usual, you employ violent expressions in your

report. You say, amongst other things, that what we offer

visitors in our Baths is a permanent supply of poison.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, can you describe it any other way, Peter?

Just think--water that is poisonous, whether you drink it or bathe

in it! And this we offer to the poor sick folk who come to us

trustfully and pay us at an exorbitant rate to be made well



Peter Stockmann. And your reasoning leads you to this conclusion,

that we must build a sewer to draw off the alleged impurities

from Molledal and must relay the water conduits.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes. Do you see any other way out of it? I don't.


Peter Stockmann. I made a pretext this morning to go and see the

town engineer, and, as if only half seriously, broached the

subject of these proposals as a thing we might perhaps have to

take under consideration some time later on.


Dr. Stockmann. Some time later on!


Peter Stockmann. He smiled at what he considered to be my

extravagance, naturally. Have you taken the trouble to consider

what your proposed alterations would cost? According to the

information I obtained, the expenses would probably mount up to

fifteen or twenty thousand pounds.


Dr. Stockmann. Would it cost so much?


Peter Stockmann. Yes; and the worst part of it would be that the

work would take at least two years.


Dr. Stockmann. Two years? Two whole years?


Peter Stockmann. At least. And what are we to do with the Baths

in the meantime? Close them? Indeed we should be obliged to. And

do you suppose anyone would come near the place after it had got

out that the water was dangerous?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes but, Peter, that is what it is.


Peter Stockmann. And all this at this juncture--just as the Baths

are beginning to be known. There are other towns in the

neighbourhood with qualifications to attract visitors for bathing

purposes. Don't you suppose they would immediately strain every

nerve to divert the entire stream of strangers to themselves?

Unquestionably they would; and then where should we be? We should

probably have to abandon the whole thing, which has cost us so

much money-and then you would have ruined your native town.


Dr. Stockmann. I--should have ruined--!


Peter Stockmann. It is simply and solely through the Baths that

the town has before it any future worth mentioning. You know that

just as well as I.


Dr. Stockmann. But what do you think ought to be done, then?


Peter Stockmann. Your report has not convinced me that the

condition of the water at the Baths is as bad as you represent it

to be.


Dr. Stockmann. I tell you it is even worse!--or at all events it

will be in summer, when the warm weather comes.


Peter Stockmann. As I said, I believe you exaggerate the matter

considerably. A capable physician ought to know what measures to

take--he ought to be capable of preventing injurious influences

or of remedying them if they become obviously persistent.


Dr. Stockmann. Well? What more?


Peter Stockmann. The water supply for the Baths is now an

established fact, and in consequence must be treated as such. But

probably the Committee, at its discretion, will not be

disinclined to consider the question of how far it might be

possible to introduce certain improvements consistently with a

reasonable expenditure.


Dr. Stockmann. And do you suppose that I will have anything to do

with such a piece of trickery as that?


Peter Stockmann. Trickery!!


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, it would be a trick--a fraud, a lie, a

downright crime towards the public, towards the whole community!


Peter Stockmann. I have not, as I remarked before, been able to

convince myself that there is actually any imminent danger.


Dr. Stockmann. You have! It is impossible that you should not be

convinced. I know I have represented the facts absolutely

truthfully and fairly. And you know it very well, Peter, only you

won't acknowledge it. It was owing to your action that both the

Baths and the water conduits were built where they are; and that

is what you won't acknowledge--that damnable blunder of yours.

Pooh!--do you suppose I don't see through you?


Peter Stockmann. And even if that were true? If I perhaps guard

my reputation somewhat anxiously, it is in the interests of the

town. Without moral authority I am powerless to direct public

affairs as seems, to my judgment, to be best for the common good.

And on that account--and for various other reasons too--it appears

to me to be a matter of importance that your report should not be

delivered to the Committee. In the interests of the public, you

must withhold it. Then, later on, I will raise the question and

we will do our best, privately; but, nothing of this unfortunate

affair not a single word of it--must come to the ears of the



Dr. Stockmann. I am afraid you will not be able to prevent that

now, my dear Peter.


Peter Stockmann. It must and shall be prevented.


Dr. Stockmann. It is no use, I tell you. There are too many

people that know about it.


Peter Stockmann. That know about it? Who? Surely you don't mean

those fellows on the "People's Messenger"?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, they know. The liberal-minded independent

press is going to see that you do your duty.


Peter Stockmann (after a short pause). You are an extraordinarily

independent man, Thomas. Have you given no thought to the

consequences this may have for yourself?


Dr. Stockmann. Consequences?--for me?


Peter Stockmann. For you and yours, yes.


Dr. Stockmann. What the deuce do you mean?


Peter Stockmann. I believe I have always behaved in a brotherly

way to you--haven't I always been ready to oblige or to help you?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, you have, and I am grateful to you for it.


Peter Stockmann. There is no need. Indeed, to some extent I was

forced to do so--for my own sake. I always hoped that, if I

helped to improve your financial position, I should be able to

keep some check on you,


Dr. Stockmann. What! Then it was only for your own sake--!


Peter Stockmann. Up to a certain point, yes. It is painful for a

man in an official position to have his nearest relative

compromising himself time after time.


Dr. Stockmann. And do you consider that I do that?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, unfortunately, you do, without even being

aware of it. You have a restless, pugnacious, rebellious

disposition. And then there is that disastrous propensity of

yours to want to write about every sort of possible and

impossible thing. The moment an idea comes into your head, you

must needs go and write a newspaper article or a whole pamphlet

about it.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, but is it not the duty of a citizen to let

the public share in any new ideas he may have?


Peter Stockmann. Oh, the public doesn't require any new ideas.

The public is best served by the good, old established ideas it

already has.


Dr. Stockmann. And that is your honest opinion?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, and for once I must talk frankly to you.

Hitherto I have tried to avoid doing so, because I know how

irritable you are; but now I must tell you the truth, Thomas. You

have no conception what an amount of harm you do yourself by your

impetuosity. You complain of the authorities, you even complain

of the government--you are always pulling them to pieces; you

insist that you have been neglected and persecuted. But what else

can such a cantankerous man as you expect?


Dr. Stockmann. What next! Cantankerous, am I?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, Thomas, you are an extremely cantankerous

man to work with--I know that to my cost. You disregard

everything that you ought to have consideration for. You seem

completely to forget that it is me you have to thank for your

appointment here as medical officer to the Baths.


Dr. Stockmann. I was entitled to it as a matter of course!--I and

nobody else! I was the first person to see that the town could be

made into a flourishing watering-place, and I was the only one

who saw it at that time. I had to fight single-handed in support

of the idea for many years; and I wrote and wrote--


Peter Stockmann. Undoubtedly. But things were not ripe for the

scheme then--though, of course, you could not judge of that in

your out-of-the-way corner up north. But as soon as the opportune

moment came I--and the others--took the matter into our hands


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and made this mess of all my beautiful plan.

It is pretty obvious now what clever fellows you were!


Peter Stockmann. To my mind the whole thing only seems to mean

that you are seeking another outlet for your combativeness. You

want to pick a quarrel with your superiors--an old habit of

yours. You cannot put up with any authority over you. You look

askance at anyone who occupies a superior official position; you

regard him as a personal enemy, and then any stick is good enough

to beat him with. But now I have called your attention to the

fact that the town's interests are at stake--and, incidentally,

my own too. And therefore, I must tell you, Thomas, that you will

find me inexorable with regard to what I am about to require you

to do.


Dr. Stockmann. And what is that?


Peter Stockmann. As you have been so indiscreet as to speak of

this delicate matter to outsiders, despite the fact that you

ought to have treated it as entirely official and confidential,

it is obviously impossible to hush it up now. All sorts of

rumours will get about directly, and everybody who has a grudge

against us will take care to embellish these rumours. So it will

be necessary for you to refute them publicly.


Dr. Stockmann. I! How? I don't understand.


Peter Stockmann. What we shall expect is that, after making

further investigations, you will come to the conclusion that the

matter is not by any means as dangerous or as critical as you

imagined in the first instance.


Dr. Stockmann. Oho!--so that is what you expect!


Peter Stockmann. And, what is more, we shall expect you to make

public profession of your confidence in the Committee and in

their readiness to consider fully and conscientiously what steps

may be necessary to remedy any possible defects.


Dr. Stockmann. But you will never be able to do that by patching

and tinkering at it--never! Take my word for it, Peter; I mean

what I say, as deliberately and emphatically as possible.


Peter Stockmann. As an officer under the Committee, you have no

right to any individual opinion.


Dr. Stockmann (amazed). No right?


Peter Stockmann. In your official capacity, no. As a private

person, it is quite another matter. But as a subordinate member

of the staff of the Baths, you have no right to express any

opinion which runs contrary to that of your superiors.


Dr. Stockmann. This is too much! I, a doctor, a man of science,

have no right to--!


Peter Stockmann. The matter in hand is not simply a scientific

one. It is a complicated matter, and has its economic as well as

its technical side.


Dr. Stockmann. I don't care what it is! I intend to be free to

express my opinion on any subject under the sun.


Peter Stockmann. As you please--but not on any subject concerning

the Baths. That we forbid.


Dr, Stockmann (shouting). You forbid--! You! A pack of--


Peter Stockmann.  I forbid it--I, your chief; and if I forbid

it, you have to obey.


Dr. Stockmann (controlling himself). Peter--if you were not my



Petra (throwing open the door). Father, you shan't stand this!


Mrs, Stockmann (coming in after her). Petra, Petra!


Peter Stockmann. Oh, so you have been eavesdropping.


Mrs. Stockmann. You were talking so loud, we couldn't help it!


Petra. Yes, I was listening.


Peter Stockmann. Well, after all, I am very glad--


Dr. Stockmann (going up to him). You were saying something about

forbidding and obeying?


Peter Stockmann. You obliged me to take that tone with you.


Dr. Stockmann. And so I am to give myself the lie, publicly?


Peter Stockmann. We consider it absolutely necessary that you

should make some such public statement as I have asked for.


Dr. Stockmann. And if I do not--obey?


Peter Stockmann. Then we shall publish a statement ourselves to

reassure the public.


Dr. Stockmann. Very well; but in that case I shall use my pen

against you. I stick to what I have said; I will show that I am

right and that you are wrong. And what will you do then?


Peter Stockmann. Then I shall not be able to prevent your being



Dr. Stockmann. What--?


Petra. Father--dismissed!


Mrs. Stockmann. Dismissed!


Peter Stockmann. Dismissed from the staff of the Baths. I shall

be obliged to propose that you shall immediately be given notice,

and shall not be allowed any further participation in the Baths'



Dr. Stockmann. You would dare to do that!


Peter Stockmann. It is you that are playing the daring game.


Petra. Uncle, that is a shameful way to treat a man like father!


Mrs. Stockmann. Do hold your tongue, Petra!


Peter Stockmann (looking at PETRA). Oh, so we volunteer our

opinions already, do we? Of course. (To MRS. STOCKMANN.)

Katherine, I imagine you are the most sensible person in this

house. Use any influence you may have over your husband, and make

him see what this will entail for his family as well as--


Dr. Stockmann. My family is my own concern and nobody else's!


Peter Stockmann. --for his own family, as I was saying, as well

as for the town he lives in.


Dr. Stockmann. It is I who have the real good of the town at

heart! I want to lay bare the defects that sooner or later must

come to the light of day. I will show whether I love my native



Peter Stockmann. You, who in your blind obstinacy want to cut off

the most important source of the town's welfare?


Dr. Stockmann. The source is poisoned, man! Are you mad? We are

making our living by retailing filth and corruption! The whole of

our flourishing municipal life derives its sustenance from a lie!


Peter Stockmann. All imagination--or something even worse. The

man who can throw out such offensive insinuations about his

native town must be an enemy to our community.


Dr. Stockmann (going up to him). Do you dare to--!


Mrs. Stockmann (throwing herself between them). Thomas!


Petra (catching her father by the arm). Don't lose your temper,



Peter Stockmann. I will not expose myself to violence. Now you

have had a warning; so reflect on what you owe to yourself and

your family. Goodbye. (Goes out.)


Dr. Stockmann (walking up and down). Am I to put up with such

treatment as this? In my own house, Katherine! What do you think

of that!


Mrs. Stockmann. Indeed it is both shameful and absurd, Thomas--


Petra. If only I could give uncle a piece of my mind--


Dr. Stockmann. It is my own fault. I ought to have flown out at

him long ago!--shown my teeth!--bitten! To hear him call me an

enemy to our community! Me! I shall not take that lying down,

upon my soul!


Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, your brother has power on his



Dr. Stockmann. Yes, but I have right on mine, I tell you.


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh yes, right--right. What is the use of having

right on your side if you have not got might?


Petra. Oh, mother!--how can you say such a thing!


Dr. Stockmann. Do you imagine that in a free country it is no use

having right on your side? You are absurd, Katherine. Besides,

haven't I got the liberal-minded, independent press to lead the

way, and the compact majority behind me? That is might enough, I

should think!


Mrs. Stockmann. But, good heavens, Thomas, you don't mean to?


Dr. Stockmann. Don't mean to what?


Mrs. Stockmann. To set yourself up in opposition to your brother.


Dr. Stockmann. In God's name, what else do you suppose I should

do but take my stand on right and truth?


Petra. Yes, I was just going to say that.


Mrs. Stockmann. But it won't do you any earthly good. If they

won't do it, they won't.


Dr. Stockmann. Oho, Katherine! Just give me time, and you will

see how I will carry the war into their camp.


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, you carry the war into their camp, and you

get your dismissal--that is what you will do.


Dr. Stockmann. In any case I shall have done my duty towards the

public--towards the community, I, who am called its enemy!


Mrs. Stockmann. But towards your family, Thomas? Towards your own

home! Do you think that is doing your duty towards those you have

to provide for?


Petra. Ah, don't think always first of us, mother.


Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, it is easy for you to talk; you are able to

shift for yourself, if need be. But remember the boys, Thomas;

and think a little of yourself too, and of me--


Dr. Stockmann. I think you are out of your senses, Katherine! If

I were to be such a miserable coward as to go on my knees to

Peter and his damned crew, do you suppose I should ever know an

hour's peace of mind all my life afterwards?


Mrs. Stockmann. I don't know anything about that; but God

preserve us from the peace of mind we shall have, all the same,

if you go on defying him! You will find yourself again without

the means of subsistence, with no income to count upon. I should

think we had had enough of that in the old days. Remember that,

Thomas; think what that means.


Dr. Stockmann (collecting himself with a struggle and clenching

his fists). And this is what this slavery can bring upon a free,

honourable man! Isn't it horrible, Katherine?


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, it is sinful to treat you so, it is

perfectly true. But, good heavens, one has to put up with so much

injustice in this world. There are the boys, Thomas! Look at

them! What is to become of them? Oh, no, no, you can never have

the heart--. (EJLIF and MORTEN have come in, while she was

speaking, with their school books in their hands.)


Dr. Stockmann. The boys-- I (Recovers himself suddenly.) No, even

if the whole world goes to pieces, I will never bow my neck to

this yokel (Goes towards his room.)


Mrs. Stockmann (following him). Thomas--what are you going to do!


Dr. Stockmann (at his door). I mean to have the right to look my

sons in the face when they are grown men. (Goes into his room.)


Mrs. Stockmann (bursting into tears). God help us all!


Petra. Father is splendid! He will not give in.


(The boys look on in amazement; PETRA signs to them not to





(SCENE.--The editorial office of the "People's Messenger." The

entrance door is on the left-hand side of the back wall; on the

right-hand side is another door with glass panels through which

the printing room can be seen. Another door in the right-hand

wall. In the middle of the room is a large table covered with

papers, newspapers and books. In the foreground on the left a

window, before which stands a desk and a high stool. There are a

couple of easy chairs by the table, and other chairs standing

along the wall. The room is dingy and uncomfortable; the

furniture is old, the chairs stained and torn. In the printing

room the compositors are seen at work, and a printer is working a

handpress. HOVSTAD is sitting at the desk, writing. BILLING

comes in from the right with DR. STOCKMANN'S manuscript in his



Billing. Well, I must say!


Hovstad (still writing). Have you read it through?


Billing (laying the MS. on the desk). Yes, indeed I have.


Hovstad. Don't you think the Doctor hits them pretty hard?


Billing. Hard? Bless my soul, he's crushing! Every word falls

like--how shall I put it?--like the blow of a sledgehammer.


Hovstad. Yes, but they are not the people to throw up the sponge

at the first blow.


Billing. That is true; and for that reason we must strike blow

upon blow until the whole of this aristocracy tumbles to pieces.

As I sat in there reading this, I almost seemed to see a

revolution in being.


Hovstad (turning round). Hush!--Speak so that Aslaksen cannot

hear you.


Billing (lowering his voice). Aslaksen is a chicken-hearted chap,

a coward; there is nothing of the man in him. But this time you

will insist on your own way, won't you? You will put the Doctor's

article in?


Hovstad. Yes, and if the Mayor doesn't like it--


Billing. That will be the devil of a nuisance.


Hovstad. Well, fortunately we can turn the situation to good

account, whatever happens. If the Mayor will not fall in with the

Doctor's project, he will have all the small tradesmen down on

him--the whole of the Householders' Association and the rest of

them. And if he does fall in with it, he will fall out with the

whole crowd of large shareholders in the Baths, who up to now

have been his most valuable supporters--


Billing. Yes, because they will certainly have to fork out a

pretty penny--


Hovstad. Yes, you may be sure they will. And in this way the ring

will be broken up, you see, and then in every issue of the paper

we will enlighten the public on the Mayor's incapability on one

point and another, and make it clear that all the positions of

trust in the town, the whole control of municipal affairs, ought

to be put in the hands of the Liberals.


Billing. That is perfectly true! I see it coming--I see it

coming; we are on the threshold of a revolution!


(A knock is heard at the door.)


Hovstad. Hush! (Calls out.) Come in! (DR. STOCKMANN comes in by

the street door. HOVSTAD goes to meet him.) Ah, it is you,

Doctor! Well?


Dr. Stockmann. You may set to work and print it, Mr. Hovstad!


Hovstad. Has it come to that, then?


Billing. Hurrah!


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, print away. Undoubtedly it has come to that.

Now they must take what they get. There is going to be a fight in

the town, Mr. Billing!


Billing. War to the knife, I hope! We will get our knives to

their throats, Doctor!


Dr. Stockmann. This article is only a beginning. I have already

got four or five more sketched out in my head. Where is Aslaksen?


Billing (calls into the printing-room). Aslaksen, just come here

for a minute!


Hovstad. Four or five more articles, did you say? On the same



Dr. Stockmann. No--far from it, my dear fellow. No, they are

about quite another matter. But they all spring from the question

of the water supply and the drainage. One thing leads to another,

you know. It is like beginning to pull down an old house,



Billing. Upon my soul, it's true; you find you are not done till

you have pulled all the old rubbish down.


Aslaksen (coming in). Pulled down? You are not thinking of

pulling down the Baths surely, Doctor?


Hovstad. Far from it, don't be afraid.


Dr. Stockmann. No, we meant something quite different. Well, what

do you think of my article, Mr. Hovstad?


Hovstad. I think it is simply a masterpiece.


Dr. Stockmann. Do you really think so? Well, I am very pleased,

very pleased.


Hovstad. It is so clear and intelligible. One need have no

special knowledge to understand the bearing of it. You will have

every enlightened man on your side.


Aslaksen. And every prudent man too, I hope?


Billing. The prudent and the imprudent--almost the whole town.


Aslaksen. In that case we may venture to print it.


Dr. Stockmann. I should think so!


Hovstad. We will put it in tomorrow morning.


Dr. Stockmann. Of course--you must not lose a single day. What I

wanted to ask you, Mr. Aslaksen, was if you would supervise the

printing of it yourself.


Aslaksen. With pleasure.


Dr. Stockmann. Take care of it as if it were a treasure! No

misprints--every word is important. I will look in again a little

later; perhaps you will be able to let me see a proof. I can't

tell you how eager I am to see it in print, and see it burst upon

the public--


Billing. Burst upon them--yes, like a flash of lightning!


Dr. Stockmann. --and to have it submitted to the judgment of my

intelligent fellow townsmen. You cannot imagine what I have gone

through today. I have been threatened first with one thing and

then with another; they have tried to rob me of my most

elementary rights as a man--


Billing. What! Your rights as a man!


Dr. Stockmann. --they have tried to degrade me, to make a coward

of me, to force me to put personal interests before my most

sacred convictions.


Billing. That is too much--I'm damned if it isn't.


Hovstad. Oh, you mustn't be surprised at anything from that



Dr. Stockmann. Well, they will get the worst of it with me; they

may assure themselves of that. I shall consider the "People's

Messenger" my sheet-anchor now, and every single day I will

bombard them with one article after another, like bombshells--


Aslaksen. Yes, but


Billing. Hurrah!--it is war, it is war!


Dr. Stockmann. I shall smite them to the ground--I shall crush

them--I shall break down all their defenses, before the eyes of

the honest public! That is what I shall do!


Aslaksen, Yes, but in moderation, Doctor--proceed with



Billing. Not a bit of it, not a bit of it! Don't spare the



Dr. Stockmann. Because it is not merely a question of water-

supply and drains now, you know. No--it is the whole of our

social life that we have got to purify and disinfect--


Billing. Spoken like a deliverer!


Dr. Stockmann. All the incapables must be turned out, you

understand--and that in every walk of life! Endless vistas have

opened themselves to my mind's eye today. I cannot see it all

quite clearly yet, but I shall in time. Young and vigorous

standard-bearers--those are what we need and must seek, my

friends; we must have new men in command at all our outposts.


Billing. Hear hear!


Dr. Stockmann. We only need to stand by one another, and it will

all be perfectly easy. The revolution will be launched like a

ship that runs smoothly off the stocks. Don't you think so?


Hovstad. For my part I think we have now a prospect of getting

the municipal authority into the hands where it should lie.


Aslaksen. And if only we proceed with moderation, I cannot

imagine that there will be any risk.


Dr. Stockmann. Who the devil cares whether there is any risk or

not! What I am doing, I am doing in the name of truth and for the

sake of my conscience.


Hovstad. You are a man who deserves to be supported, Doctor.


Aslaksen. Yes, there is no denying that the Doctor is a true

friend to the town--a real friend to the community, that he is.


Billing. Take my word for it, Aslaksen, Dr. Stockmann is a friend

of the people.


Aslaksen. I fancy the Householders' Association will make use of

that expression before long.


Dr. Stockmann (affected, grasps their hands). Thank you, thank

you, my dear staunch friends. It is very refreshing to me to hear

you say that; my brother called me something quite different. By

Jove, he shall have it back, with interest! But now I must be off

to see a poor devil--I will come back, as I said. Keep a very

careful eye on the manuscript, Aslaksen, and don't for worlds

leave out any of my notes of exclamation! Rather put one or two

more in! Capital, capital! Well, good-bye for the present--

goodbye, goodbye!

(They show him to the door, and bow him out.)


Hovstad. He may prove an invaluably useful man to us.


Aslaksen. Yes, so long as he confines himself to this matter of

the Baths. But if he goes farther afield, I don't think it would

be advisable to follow him.


Hovstad. Hm!--that all depends-


Billing. You are so infernally timid, Aslaksen!


Aslaksen. Timid? Yes, when it is a question of the local

authorities, I am timid, Mr. Billing; it is a lesson I have

learned in the school of experience, let me tell you. But try me

in higher politics, in matters that concern the government

itself, and then see if I am timid.


Billing. No, you aren't, I admit. But this is simply

contradicting yourself.


Aslaksen. I am a man with a conscience, and that is the whole

matter. If you attack the government, you don't do the community

any harm, anyway; those fellows pay no attention to attacks, you

see--they go on just as they are, in spite of them. But local

authorities are different; they can be turned out, and then

perhaps you may get an ignorant lot into office who may do

irreparable harm to the householders and everybody else.


Hovstad. But what of the education of citizens by self

government--don't you attach any importance to that?


Aslaksen. When a man has interests of his own to protect, he

cannot think of everything, Mr. Hovstad.


Hovstad. Then I hope I shall never have interests of my own to



Billing. Hear, hear!


Aslaksen (with a smile). Hm! (Points to the desk.) Mr. Sheriff

Stensgaard was your predecessor at that editorial desk.


Billing (spitting). Bah! That turncoat.


Hovstad. I am not a weathercock--and never will be.


Aslaksen. A politician should never be too certain of anything,

Mr. Hovstad. And as for you, Mr. Billing, I should think it is

time for you to be taking in a reef or two in your sails, seeing

that you are applying for the post of secretary to the Bench.


Billing. I--!


Hovstad. Are you, Billing?


Billing. Well, yes--but you must clearly understand I am only

doing it to annoy the bigwigs.


Aslaksen. Anyhow, it is no business of mine. But if I am to be

accused of timidity and of inconsistency in my principles, this

is what I want to point out: my political past is an open book. I

have never changed, except perhaps to become a little more

moderate, you see. My heart is still with the people; but I don't

deny that my reason has a certain bias towards the authorities--

the local ones, I mean. (Goes into the printing room.)


Billing. Oughtn't we to try and get rid of him, Hovstad?


Hovstad. Do you know anyone else who will advance the money for

our paper and printing bill?


Billing. It is an infernal nuisance that we don't possess some

capital to trade on.


Hovstad (sitting down at his desk). Yes, if we only had that,



Billing. Suppose you were to apply to Dr. Stockmann?


Hovstad (turning over some papers). What is the use? He has got



Billing. No, but he has got a warm man in the background, old

Morten Kiil--"the Badger," as they call him.


Hovstad (writing). Are you so sure he has got anything?


Billing. Good Lord, of course he has! And some of it must come to

the Stockmanns. Most probably he will do something for the

children, at all events.


Hovstad (turning half round). Are you counting on that?


Billing. Counting on it? Of course I am not counting on anything.


Hovstad. That is right. And I should not count on the

secretaryship to the Bench either, if I were you; for I can

assure you--you won't get it.


Billing. Do you think I am not quite aware of that? My object is

precisely not to get it. A slight of that kind stimulates a man's

fighting power--it is like getting a supply of fresh bile--and I

am sure one needs that badly enough in a hole-and-corner place

like this, where it is so seldom anything happens to stir one up.


Hovstad (writing). Quite so, quite so.


Billing. Ah, I shall be heard of yet!--Now I shall go and write

the appeal to the Householders' Association. (Goes into the room

on the right.)


Hovstad (sitting al his desk, biting his penholder, says slowly).

Hm!--that's it, is it. (A knock is heard.) Come in! (PETRA comes

in by the outer door. HOVSTAD gets up.) What, you!--here?


Petra. Yes, you must forgive me--


Hovstad (pulling a chair forward). Won't you sit down?


Petra. No, thank you; I must go again in a moment.


Hovstad. Have you come with a message from your father, by any



Petra. No, I have come on my own account. (Takes a book out of

her coat pocket.) Here is the English story.


Hovstad. Why have you brought it back?


Petra. Because I am not going to translate it.


Hovstad. But you promised me faithfully.


Petra. Yes, but then I had not read it, I don't suppose you have

read it either?


Hovstad. No, you know quite well I don't understand English;



Petra. Quite so. That is why I wanted to tell you that you must

find something else. (Lays the book on the table.) You can't use

this for the "People's Messenger."


Hovstad. Why not?


Petra. Because it conflicts with all your opinions.


Hovstad. Oh, for that matter--


Petra. You don't understand me. The burden of this story is that

there is a supernatural power that looks after the so-called good

people in this world and makes everything happen for the best in

their case--while all the so-called bad people are punished.


Hovstad. Well, but that is all right. That is just what our

readers want.


Petra. And are you going to be the one to give it to them? For

myself, I do not believe a word of it. You know quite well that

things do not happen so in reality.


Hovstad. You are perfectly right; but an editor cannot always act

as he would prefer. He is often obliged to bow to the wishes of

the public in unimportant matters. Politics are the most

important thing in life--for a newspaper, anyway; and if I want

to carry my public with me on the path that leads to liberty and

progress, I must not frighten them away. If they find a moral

tale of this sort in the serial at the bottom of the page, they

will be all the more ready to read what is printed above it; they

feel more secure, as it were.


Petra. For shame! You would never go and set a snare like that

for your readers; you are not a spider!


Hovstad (smiling). Thank you for having such a good opinion of

me. No; as a matter of fact that is Billing's idea and not mine.


Petra. Billing's!


Hovstad. Yes; anyway, he propounded that theory here one day. And

it is Billing who is so anxious to have that story in the paper;

I don't know anything about the book.


Petra. But how can Billing, with his emancipated views--


Hovstad. Oh, Billing is a many-sided man. He is applying for the

post of secretary to the Bench, too, I hear.


Petra. I don't believe it, Mr. Hovstad. How could he possibly

bring himself to do such a thing?


Hovstad. Ah, you must ask him that.


Petra. I should never have thought it of him.


Hovstad (looking more closely at her). No? Does it really

surprise you so much?


Petra. Yes. Or perhaps not altogether. Really, I don't quite know


Hovstad. We journalists are not much worth, Miss Stockmann.


Petra. Do you really mean that?


Hovstad. I think so sometimes.


Petra. Yes, in the ordinary affairs of everyday life, perhaps; I

can understand that. But now, when you have taken a weighty

matter in hand--


Hovstad. This matter of your father's, you mean?


Petra. Exactly. It seems to me that now you must feel you are a

man worth more than most.


Hovstad. Yes, today I do feel something of that sort.


Petra. Of course you do, don't you? It is a splendid vocation you

have chosen--to smooth the way for the march of unappreciated

truths, and new and courageous lines of thought. If it were

nothing more than because you stand fearlessly in the open and

take up the cause of an injured man--


Hovstad. Especially when that injured man is--ahem!--I don't

rightly know how to--


Petra. When that man is so upright and so honest, you mean?


Hovstad (more gently). Especially when he is your father I meant.


Petra (suddenly checked). That?


Hovstad. Yes, Petra--Miss Petra.


Petra. Is it that, that is first and foremost with you? Not the

matter itself? Not the truth?--not my father's big generous



Hovstad. Certainly--of course--that too.


Petra. No, thank you; you have betrayed yourself, Mr. Hovstad,

and now I shall never trust you again in anything.


Hovstad. Can you really take it so amiss in me that it is mostly

for your sake--?


Petra. What I am angry with you for, is for not having been

honest with my father. You talked to him as if the truth and the

good of the community were what lay nearest to your heart. You

have made fools of both my father and me. You are not the man you

made yourself out to be. And that I shall never forgive you-



Hovstad. You ought not to speak so bitterly, Miss Petra--least of

all now.


Petra. Why not now, especially?


Hovstad. Because your father cannot do without my help.


Petra (looking him up and down). Are you that sort of man too?

For shame!


Hovstad. No, no, I am not. This came upon me so unexpectedly--you

must believe that.


Petra. I know what to believe. Goodbye.


Aslaksen (coming from the printing room, hurriedly and with an

air of mystery). Damnation, Hovstad!--(Sees PETRA.) Oh, this is



Petra. There is the book; you must give it to some one else.

(Goes towards the door.)


Hovstad (following her). But, Miss Stockmann--


Petra. Goodbye. (Goes out.)


Aslaksen. I say--Mr, Hovstad--


Hovstad. Well well!--what is it?


Aslaksen. The Mayor is outside in the printing room.


Hovstad. The Mayor, did you say?


Aslaksen. Yes he wants to speak to you. He came in by the back

door--didn't want to be seen, you understand.


Hovstad. What can he want? Wait a bit--I will go myself. (Goes to

the door of the printing room, opens it, bows and invites PETER

STOCKMANN in.) Just see, Aslaksen, that no one--


Aslaksen. Quite so. (Goes into the printing-room.)


Peter Stockmann. You did not expect to see me here, Mr. Hovstad?


Hovstad. No, I confess I did not.


Peter Stockmann (looking round). You are very snug in here--very

nice indeed.


Hovstad. Oh--


Peter Stockmann. And here I come, without any notice, to take up

your time!


Hovstad. By all means, Mr. Mayor. I am at your service. But let

me relieve you of your--(takes STOCKMANN's hat and stick and puts

them on a chair). Won't you sit down?


Peter Stockmann (sitting down by the table). Thank you. (HOVSTAD

sits down.) I have had an extremely annoying experience to-day,

Mr. Hovstad.


Hovstad. Really? Ah well, I expect with all the various business

you have to attend to--


Peter Stockmann. The Medical Officer of the Baths is responsible

for what happened today.


Hovstad. Indeed? The Doctor?


Peter Stockmann. He has addressed a kind of report to the Baths

Committee on the subject of certain supposed defects in the



Hovstad. Has he indeed?


Peter Stockmann. Yes--has he not told you? I thought he said--


Hovstad. Ah, yes--it is true he did mention something about--


Aslaksen (coming from the printing-room). I ought to have that



Hovstad (angrily). Ahem!--there it is on the desk.


Aslaksen (taking it). Right.


Peter Stockmann. But look there--that is the thing I was speaking



Aslaksen. Yes, that is the Doctor's article, Mr. Mayor.


Hovstad. Oh, is THAT what you were speaking about?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, that is it. What do you think of it?


Hovstad. Oh, I am only a layman--and I have only taken a very

cursory glance at it.


Peter Stockmann. But you are going to print it?


Hovstad. I cannot very well refuse a distinguished man.


Aslaksen. I have nothing to do with editing the paper, Mr.



Peter Stockmann. I understand.


Aslaksen. I merely print what is put into my hands.


Peter Stockmann. Quite so.


Aslaksen. And so I must-- (moves off towards the printing-room).


Peter Stockmann. No, but wait a moment, Mr. Aslaksen. You will

allow me, Mr. Hovstad?


Hovstad. If you please, Mr. Mayor.


Peter Stockmann. You are a discreet and thoughtful man, Mr.



Aslaksen. I am delighted to hear you think so, sir.


Peter Stockmann. And a man of very considerable influence.


Aslaksen. Chiefly among the small tradesmen, sir.


Peter Stockmann. The small tax-payers are the majority--here as

everywhere else.


Aslaksen. That is true.


Peter Stockmann. And I have no doubt you know the general trend

of opinion among them, don't you?


Aslaksen. Yes I think I may say I do, Mr. Mayor.


Peter Stockmann. Yes. Well, since there is such a praiseworthy

spirit of self-sacrifice among the less wealthy citizens of our



Aslaksen. What?


Hovstad. Self-sacrifice?


Peter Stockmann. It is pleasing evidence of a public-spirited

feeling, extremely pleasing evidence. I might almost say I hardly

expected it. But you have a closer knowledge of public opinion

than I.


Aslaksen. But, Mr. Mayor-


Peter Stockmann. And indeed it is no small sacrifice that the

town is going to make.


Hovstad. The town?


Aslaksen. But I don't understand. Is it the Baths--?


Peter Stockmann. At a provisional estimate, the alterations that

the Medical Officer asserts to be desirable will cost somewhere

about twenty thousand pounds.


Aslaksen. That is a lot of money, but--


Peter Stockmann. Of course it will be necessary to raise a

municipal loan.


Hovstad (getting up). Surely you never mean that the town must



Aslaksen. Do you mean that it must come out of the municipal

funds?--out of the ill-filled pockets of the small tradesmen?


Peter Stockmann. Well, my dear Mr. Aslaksen, where else is the

money to come from?


Aslaksen. The gentlemen who own the Baths ought to provide that.


Peter Stockmann. The proprietors of the Baths are not in a

position to incur any further expense.


Aslaksen. Is that absolutely certain, Mr. Mayor?


Peter Stockmann. I have satisfied myself that it is so. If the

town wants these very extensive alterations, it will have to pay

for them.


Aslaksen. But, damn it all--I beg your pardon--this is quite

another matter, Mr, Hovstad!


Hovstad. It is, indeed.


Peter Stockmann. The most fatal part of it is that we shall be

obliged to shut the Baths for a couple of years.


Hovstad. Shut them? Shut them altogether?


Aslaksen. For two years?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, the work will take as long as that--at



Aslaksen. I'm damned if we will stand that, Mr. Mayor! What are

we householders to live upon in the meantime?


Peter Stockmann. Unfortunately, that is an extremely difficult

question to answer, Mr. Aslaksen. But what would you have us do?

Do you suppose we shall have a single visitor in the town, if we

go about proclaiming that our water is polluted, that we are

living over a plague spot, that the entire town--


Aslaksen. And the whole thing is merely imagination?


Peter Stockmann. With the best will in the world, I have not been

able to come to any other conclusion.


Aslaksen. Well then I must say it is absolutely unjustifiable of

Dr. Stockmann--I beg your pardon, Mr. Mayor.


Peter Stockmann. What you say is lamentably true, Mr. Aslaksen.

My brother has unfortunately always been a headstrong man.


Aslaksen. After this, do you mean to give him your support, Mr.



Hovstad. Can you suppose for a moment that I--?


Peter Stockmann. I have drawn up a short resume of the situation

as it appears from a reasonable man's point of view. In it I have

indicated how certain possible defects might suitably be remedied

without outrunning the resources of the Baths Committee.


Hovstad. Have you got it with you, Mr. Mayor?


Peter Stockmann (fumbling in his pocket). Yes, I brought it with

me in case you should--


Aslaksen. Good Lord, there he is!


Peter Stockmann. Who? My brother?


Hovstad. Where? Where?


Aslaksen. He has just gone through the printing room.


Peter Stockmann. How unlucky! I don't want to meet him here, and

I had still several things to speak to you about.


Hovstad (pointing to the door on the right). Go in there for the



Peter Stockmann. But--?


Hovstad. You will only find Billing in there.


Aslaksen. Quick, quick, Mr. Mayor--he is just coming.


Peter Stockmann. Yes, very well; but see that you get rid of him

quickly. (Goes out through the door on the right, which ASLAKSEN

opens for him and shuts after him.)


Hovstad. Pretend to be doing something, Aslaksen. (Sits down and

writes. ASLAKSEN begins foraging among a heap of newspapers that

are lying on a chair.)


Dr. Stockmann (coming in from the printing room). Here I am

again. (Puts down his hat and stick.)


Hovstad (writing). Already, Doctor? Hurry up with what we were

speaking about, Aslaksen. We are very pressed for time today.


Dr. Stockmann (to ASLAKSEN). No proof for me to see yet, I hear.


Aslaksen (without turning round). You couldn't expect it yet,



Dr. Stockmann. No, no; but I am impatient, as you can understand.

I shall not know a moment's peace of mind until I see it in



Hovstad. Hm!--It will take a good while yet, won't it, Aslaksen?


Aslaksen. Yes, I am almost afraid it will.


Dr. Stockmann. All right, my dear friends; I will come back. I do

not mind coming back twice if necessary. A matter of such great

importance--the welfare of the town at stake--it is no time to

shirk trouble, (is just going, but stops and comes back.) Look

here--there is one thing more I want to speak to you about.


Hovstad. Excuse me, but could it not wait till some other time?


Dr. Stockmann. I can tell you in half a dozen words. It is only

this. When my article is read tomorrow and it is realised that I

have been quietly working the whole winter for the welfare of the



Hovstad. Yes but, Doctor--


Dr. Stockmann. I know what you are going to say. You don't see

how on earth it was any more than my duty--my obvious duty as a

citizen. Of course it wasn't; I know that as well as you. But my

fellow citizens, you know--! Good Lord, think of all the good

souls who think so highly of me--!


Aslaksen. Yes, our townsfolk have had a very high opinion of you

so far, Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and that is just why I am afraid they--.

Well, this is the point; when this reaches them, especially the

poorer classes, and sounds in their ears like a summons to take

the town's affairs into their own hands for the future...


Hovstad (getting up). Ahem I Doctor, I won't conceal from you the



Dr. Stockmann. Ah I--I knew there was something in the wind! But

I won't hear a word of it. If anything of that sort is being set

on foot--


Hovstad. Of what sort?


Dr. Stockmann. Well, whatever it is--whether it is a

demonstration in my honour, or a banquet, or a subscription list

for some presentation to me--whatever it is, you most promise me

solemnly and faithfully to put a stop to it. You too, Mr.

Aslaksen; do you understand?


Hovstad. You must forgive me, Doctor, but sooner or later we must

tell you the plain truth--


(He is interrupted by the entrance Of MRS. STOCKMANN, who comes

in from the street door.)


Mrs. Stockmann (seeing her husband). Just as I thought!


Hovstad (going towards her). You too, Mrs. Stockmann?


Dr. Stockmann. What on earth do you want here, Katherine?


Mrs. Stockmann. I should think you know very well what I want.


Hovstad, Won't you sit down? Or perhaps--


Mrs. Stockmann. No, thank you; don't trouble. And you must not be

offended at my coming to fetch my husband; I am the mother of

three children, you know.


Dr. Stockmann. Nonsense!--we know all about that.


Mrs. Stockmann. Well, one would not give you credit for much

thought for your wife and children today; if you had had that,

you would not have gone and dragged us all into misfortune.


Dr. Stockmann. Are you out of your senses, Katherine! Because a

man has a wife and children, is he not to be allowed to proclaim

the truth-is he not to be allowed to be an actively useful

citizen--is he not to be allowed to do a service to his native



Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, Thomas--in reason.


Aslaksen. Just what I say. Moderation in everything.


Mrs. Stockmann. And that is why you wrong us, Mr. Hovstad, in

enticing my husband away from his home and making a dupe of him

in all this.


Hovstad. I certainly am making a dupe of no one--


Dr. Stockmann. Making a dupe of me! Do you suppose I should allow

myself to be duped!


Mrs. Stockmann. It is just what you do. I know quite well you

have more brains than anyone in the town, but you are extremely

easily duped, Thomas. (To Hovstad.) Please do realise that he

loses his post at the Baths if you print what he has written.


Aslaksen. What!


Hovstad. Look here, Doctor!


Dr. Stockmann (laughing). Ha-ha!--just let them try! No, no--they

will take good care not to. I have got the compact majority

behind me, let me tell you!


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, that is just the worst of it--your having

any such horrid thing behind you.


Dr. Stockmann. Rubbish, Katherine!--Go home and look after your

house and leave me to look after the community. How can you be so

afraid, when I am so confident and happy? (Walks up and down,

rubbing his hands.) Truth and the People will win the fight, you

may be certain! I see the whole of the broad-minded middle class

marching like a victorious army--! (Stops beside a chair.) What

the deuce is that lying there?


Aslaksen Good Lord!


Hovstad. Ahem!


Dr. Stockmann. Here we have the topmost pinnacle of authority!

(Takes the Mayor's official hat carefully between his finger-tips

and holds it up in the air.)


Mrs. Stockmann. The Mayor's hat!


Dr. Stockmann. And here is the staff of office too. How in the

name of all that's wonderful--?


Hovstad. Well, you see--


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, I understand. He has been here trying to talk

you over. Ha-ha!--he made rather a mistake there! And as soon as

he caught sight of me in the printing room. (Bursts out

laughing.) Did he run away, Mr. Aslaksen?


Aslaksen (hurriedly). Yes, he ran away, Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. Ran away without his stick or his--. Fiddlesticks!

Peter doesn't run away and leave his belongings behind him. But

what the deuce have you done with him? Ah!--in there, of course.

Now you shall see, Katherine!


Mrs. Stockmann. Thomas--please don't--!


Aslaksen. Don't be rash, Doctor.


(DR. STOCKMANN has put on the Mayor's hat and taken his stick in

his hand. He goes up to the door, opens it, and stands with his

hand to his hat at the salute. PETER STOCKMANN comes in, red with

anger. BILLING follows him.)


Peter Stockmann. What does this tomfoolery mean?


Dr. Stockmann. Be respectful, my good Peter. I am the chief

authority in the town now. (Walks up and down.)


Mrs. Stockmann (almost in tears). Really, Thomas!


Peter Stockmann (following him about). Give me my hat and stick.


Dr. Stockmann (in the same tone as before). If you are chief

constable, let me tell you that I am the Mayor--I am the master

of the whole town, please understand!


Peter Stockmann. Take off my hat, I tell you. Remember it is part

of an official uniform.


Dr. Stockmann. Pooh! Do you think the newly awakened lionhearted

people are going to be frightened by an official hat? There is

going to be a revolution in the town tomorrow, let me tell you.

You thought you could turn me out; but now I shall turn you out--

turn you out of all your various offices. Do you think I cannot?

Listen to me. I have triumphant social forces behind me. Hovstad

and Billing will thunder in the "People's Messenger," and

Aslaksen will take the field at the head of the whole

Householders' Association--


Aslaksen. That I won't, Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. Of course you will--


Peter Stockmann. Ah!--may I ask then if Mr. Hovstad intends to

join this agitation?


Hovstad. No, Mr. Mayor.


Aslaksen. No, Mr. Hovstad is not such a fool as to go and ruin

his paper and himself for the sake of an imaginary grievance.


Dr. Stockmann (looking round him). What does this mean?


Hovstad. You have represented your case in a false light, Doctor,

and therefore I am unable to give you my support.


Billing. And after what the Mayor was so kind as to tell me just

now, I--


Dr. Stockmann. A false light! Leave that part of it to me. Only

print my article; I am quite capable of defending it.


Hovstad. I am not going to print it. I cannot and will not and

dare not print it.


Dr. Stockmann. You dare not? What nonsense!--you are the editor;

and an editor controls his paper, I suppose!


Aslaksen. No, it is the subscribers, Doctor.


Peter Stockmann. Fortunately, yes.


Aslaksen. It is public opinion--the enlightened public--

householders and people of that kind; they control the



Dr. Stockmann (composedly). And I have all these influences

against me?


Aslaksen. Yes, you have. It would mean the absolute ruin of the

community if your article were to appear.


Dr. Stockmann. Indeed.


Peter Stockmann. My hat and stick, if you please. (DR. STOCKMANN

takes off the hat and lays it on the table with the stick. PETER

STOCKMANN takes them up.) Your authority as mayor has come to an

untimely end.


Dr. Stockmann. We have not got to the end yet. (To HOVSTAD.) Then

it is quite impossible for you to print my article in the

"People's Messenger"?


Hovstad. Quite impossible--out of regard for your family as well.


Mrs. Stockmann. You need not concern yourself about his family,

thank you, Mr. Hovstad.


Peter Stockmann (taking a paper from his pocket). It will be

sufficient, for the guidance of the public, if this appears. It

is an official statement. May I trouble you?


Hovstad (taking the paper). Certainly; I will see that it is



Dr. Stockmann. But not mine. Do you imagine that you can silence

me and stifle the truth! You will not find it so easy as you

suppose. Mr. Aslaksen, kindly take my manuscript at once and

print it as a pamphlet--at my expense. I will have four hundred

copies--no, five or six hundred.


Aslaksen. If you offered me its weight in gold, I could not lend

my press for any such purpose, Doctor. It would be flying in the

face of public opinion. You will not get it printed anywhere in

the town.


Dr. Stockmann. Then give it me back.


Hovstad (giving him the MS.). Here it is.


Dr. Stockmann (taking his hat and stick). It shall be made public

all the same. I will read it out at a mass meeting of the

townspeople. All my fellow-citizens shall hear the voice of



Peter Stockmann. You will not find any public body in the town

that will give you the use of their hall for such a purpose.


Aslaksen. Not a single one, I am certain.


Billing. No, I'm damned if you will find one.


Mrs. Stockmann. But this is too shameful! Why should every one

turn against you like that?


Dr. Stockmann (angrily). I will tell you why. It is because all

the men in this town are old women--like you; they all think of

nothing but their families, and never of the community.


Mrs. Stockmann (putting her arm into his). Then I will show them

that an old woman can be a man for once. I am going to stand

by you, Thomas!


Dr. Stockmann. Bravely said, Katherine! It shall be made public--

as I am a living soul! If I can't hire a hall, I shall hire a

drum, and parade the town with it and read it at every street-



Peter Stockmann. You are surely not such an errant fool as that!


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, I am.


Aslaksen. You won't find a single man in the whole town to go

with you.


Billing. No, I'm damned if you will.


Mrs. Stockmann. Don't give in, Thomas. I will tell the boys to go

with you.


Dr. Stockmann. That is a splendid idea!


Mrs. Stockmann. Morten will be delighted; and Ejlif will do

whatever he does.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and Petra!--and you too, Katherine!


Mrs. Stockmann. No, I won't do that; but I will stand at the

window and watch you, that's what I will do.


Dr. Stockmann (puts his arms round her and kisses her). Thank

you, my dear! Now you and I are going to try a fall, my fine

gentlemen! I am going to see whether a pack of cowards can

succeed in gagging a patriot who wants to purify society! (He and

his wife go out by the street door.)


Peter Stockmann (shaking his head seriously). Now he has sent her

out of her senses, too.




(SCENE.--A big old-fashioned room in CAPTAIN HORSTER'S house. At

the back folding-doors, which are standing open, lead to an ante-

room. Three windows in the left-hand wall. In the middle of the

opposite wall a platform has been erected. On this is a small

table with two candles, a water-bottle and glass, and a bell. The

room is lit by lamps placed between the windows. In the

foreground on the left there is a table with candles and a chair.

To the right is a door and some chairs standing near it. The room

is nearly filled with a crowd of townspeople of all sorts, a few

women and schoolboys being amongst them. People are still

streaming in from the back, and the room is soon filled.)


1st Citizen (meeting another). Hullo, Lamstad! You here too?


2nd Citizen. I go to every public meeting, I do.


3rd Citizen. Brought your whistle too, I expect!


2nd Citizen. I should think so. Haven't you?


3rd Citizen. Rather! And old Evensen said he was going to bring a

cow-horn, he did.


2nd Citizen. Good old Evensen! (Laughter among the crowd.)


4th Citizen (coming up to them). I say, tell me what is going on

here tonight?


2nd Citizen. Dr. Stockmann is going to deliver an address

attacking the Mayor.


4th Citizen. But the Mayor is his brother.


1st Citizen. That doesn't matter; Dr. Stockmann's not the chap to

be afraid.


Peter Stockmann. For various reasons, which you will easily

understand, I must beg to be excused. But fortunately we have

amongst us a man who I think will be acceptable to you all. I

refer to the President of the Householders' Association, Mr.



Several voices. Yes--Aslaksen! Bravo Aslaksen!


(DR. STOCKMANN takes up his MS. and walks up and down the



Aslaksen. Since my fellow-citizens choose to entrust me with this

duty, I cannot refuse.


(Loud applause. ASLAKSEN mounts the platform.)


Billing (writing), "Mr. Aslaksen was elected with enthusiasm."


Aslaksen. And now, as I am in this position, I should like to say

a few brief words. I am a quiet and peaceable man, who believes

in discreet moderation, and--and--in moderate discretion. All my

friends can bear witness to that.


Several Voices. That's right! That's right, Aslaksen!


Aslaksen. I have learned in the school of life and experience that

moderation is the most valuable virtue a citizen can possess--


Peter Stockmann. Hear, hear!


Aslaksen. --And moreover, that discretion and moderation are what

enable a man to be of most service to the community. I would

therefore suggest to our esteemed fellow-citizen, who has called

this meeting, that he should strive to keep strictly within the

bounds of moderation.


A Man by the door. Three cheers for the Moderation Society!


A Voice. Shame!


Several Voices. Sh!-Sh!


Aslaksen. No interruptions, gentlemen, please! Does anyone wish

to make any remarks?


Peter Stockmann. Mr. Chairman.


Aslaksen. The Mayor will address the meeting.


Peter Stockmann. In consideration of the close relationship in

which, as you all know, I stand to the present Medical Officer of

the Baths, I should have preferred not to speak this evening. But

my official position with regard to the Baths and my solicitude

for the vital interests of the town compel me to bring forward a

motion. I venture to presume that there is not a single one of

our citizens present who considers it desirable that unreliable

and exaggerated accounts of the sanitary condition of the Baths

and the town should be spread abroad.


Several Voices. No, no! Certainly not! We protest against it!


Peter Stockmann. Therefore, I should like to propose that the

meeting should not permit the Medical Officer either to read or

to comment on his proposed lecture.


Dr. Stockmann (impatiently). Not permit--! What the devil--!


Mrs. Stockmann (coughing). Ahem!-ahem!


Dr. Stockmann (collecting himself). Very well, Go ahead!


Peter Stockmann. In my communication to the "People's Messenger,"

I have put the essential facts before the public in such a way

that every fair-minded citizen can easily form his own opinion.

From it you will see that the main result of the Medical

Officer's proposals--apart from their constituting a vote of

censure on the leading men of the town--would be to saddle the

ratepayers with an unnecessary expenditure of at least some

thousands of pounds.


(Sounds of disapproval among the audience, and some cat-calls.)


Aslaksen (ringing his bell). Silence, please, gentlemen! I beg to

support the Mayor's motion. I quite agree with him that there is

something behind this agitation started by the Doctor. He talks

about the Baths; but it is a revolution he is aiming at--he wants

to get the administration of the town put into new hands. No one

doubts the honesty of the Doctor's intentions--no one will suggest

that there can be any two opinions as to that, I myself am a

believer in self-government for the people, provided it does not

fall too heavily on the ratepayers. But that would be the case

here; and that is why I will see Dr. Stockmann damned--I beg your

pardon--before I go with him in the matter. You can pay too

dearly for a thing sometimes; that is my opinion.


(Loud applause on all sides.)


Hovstad. I, too, feel called upon to explain my position. Dr.

Stockmann's agitation appeared to be gaining a certain amount of

sympathy at first, so I supported it as impartially as I could.

But presently we had reason to suspect that we had allowed

ourselves to be misled by misrepresentation of the state of



Dr. Stockmann. Misrepresentation--!


Hovstad. Well, let us say a not entirely trustworthy

representation. The Mayor's statement has proved that. I hope no

one here has any doubt as to my liberal principles; the attitude

of the "People's Messenger" towards important political questions

is well known to everyone. But the advice of experienced and

thoughtful men has convinced me that in purely local matters a

newspaper ought to proceed with a certain caution.


Aslaksen. I entirely agree with the speaker.


Hovstad. And, in the matter before us, it is now an undoubted

fact that Dr. Stockmann has public opinion against him. Now, what

is an editor's first and most obvious duty, gentlemen? Is it not

to work in harmony with his readers? Has he not received a sort

of tacit mandate to work persistently and assiduously for the

welfare of those whose opinions he represents? Or is it possible

I am mistaken in that?


Voices from the crowd. No, no! You are quite right!


Hovstad. It has cost me a severe struggle to break with a man in

whose house I have been lately a frequent guest--a man who till

today has been able to pride himself on the undivided goodwill

of his fellow-citizens--a man whose only, or at all events whose

essential, failing is that he is swayed by his heart rather than

his head.


A few scattered voices. That is true! Bravo, Stockmann!


Hovstad. But my duty to the community obliged me to break with

him. And there is another consideration that impels me to oppose

him, and, as far as possible, to arrest him on the perilous

course he has adopted; that is, consideration for his family--


Dr. Stockmann. Please stick to the water-supply and drainage!


Hovstad. --consideration, I repeat, for his wife and his children

for whom he has made no provision.


Morten. Is that us, mother?


Mrs. Stockmann. Hush!


Aslaksen. I will now put the Mayor's proposition to the vote.


Dr. Stockmann. There is no necessity! Tonight I have no

intention of dealing with all that filth down at the Baths. No; I

have something quite different to say to you.


Peter Stockmann (aside). What is coming now?


A Drunken Man (by the entrance door). I am a ratepayer! And

therefore, I have a right to speak too! And my entire--firm--

inconceivable opinion is--


A number of voices. Be quiet, at the back there!


Others. He is drunk! Turn him out! (They turn him out.)


Dr. Stockmann. Am I allowed to speak?


Aslaksen (ringing his bell). Dr. Stockmann will address the



Dr. Stockmann. I should like to have seen anyone, a few days ago,

dare to attempt to silence me as has been done tonight! I would

have defended my sacred rights as a man, like a lion! But now it

is all one to me; I have something of even weightier importance

to say to you. (The crowd presses nearer to him, MORTEN Kiil

conspicuous among them.)


Dr. Stockmann (continuing). 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 (with a cough). Ahem!


Dr. Stockmann. --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



A number of voices (shouting). Don't talk about the Baths! We

won't hear you! None of that!


Dr. Stockmann. 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 (with his hand on his bell). I call upon the speaker to

moderate his language.


Dr. Stockmann. 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. (Some

clapping and applause.) 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. (Murmurs among the crowd.)


Billing (laying down his pen). I'm damned if I have ever heard--!


Hovstad. It is an insult to a respectable population!


Dr. Stockmann. 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 cider-ducks brooding on its nest, and what I hatched was the

plans for these Baths. (Applause and protests.) 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 (looking at the ceiling). You chose a strange way

of doing it--ahem!


Dr. Stockmann. 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--. (Uproar, shouts and laughter, MRS. STOCKMANN

coughs persistently.)


Peter Stockmann. Mr. Chairman!


Aslaksen (ringing his bell). By virtue of my authority--!


Dr. Stockmann. It is a petty thing to catch me up on a word, Mr.

Aslaksen. What I mean is only that I got scent of the

unbelievable piggishness our leading men had been responsible for

down at the Baths. I can't stand leading men at any price!--I

have had enough of such people in my time. They are like billy-

goats on a young plantation; they do mischief everywhere. They

stand in a free man's way, whichever way he turns, and what I

should like best would be to see them exterminated like any other

vermin--. (Uproar.)


Peter Stockmann. Mr. Chairman, can we allow such expressions to



Aslaksen (with his hand on his bell). Doctor--!


Dr. Stockmann. I cannot understand how it is that I have only now

acquired a clear conception of what these gentry are, when I had

almost daily before my eyes in this town such an excellent

specimen of them--my brother Peter--slow-witted and hide-bound in

prejudice--. (Laughter, uproar and hisses. MRS. STOCKMANN Sits

coughing assiduously. ASLAKSEN rings his bell violently.)


The Drunken Man (who has got in again). Is it me he is talking

about? My name's Petersen, all right--but devil take me if I--


Angry Voices. Turn out that drunken man! Turn him out. (He is

turned out again.)


Peter Stockmann. Who was that person?


1st Citizen. I don't know who he is, Mr. Mayor.


2nd Citizen. He doesn't belong here.


3rd Citizen. I expect he is a navvy from over at--(the rest is



Aslaksen. He had obviously had too much beer. Proceed, Doctor;

but please strive to be moderate in your language.


Dr. Stockmann. Very well, gentlemen, I will say no more about our

leading men. And if anyone imagines, from what I have just said,

that my object is to attack these people this evening, he is

wrong--absolutely wide of the mark. For I cherish the comforting

conviction that these parasites--all these venerable relics of a

dying school of thought--are most admirably paving the way for

their own extinction; they need no doctor's help to hasten their

end. Nor is it folk of that kind who constitute the most pressing

danger to the community. It is not they who are most instrumental

in poisoning the sources of our moral life and infecting the

ground on which we stand. It is not they who are the most

dangerous enemies of truth and freedom amongst us.


Shouts from all sides. Who then? Who is it? Name! Name!


Dr. Stockmann. You may depend upon it--I shall name them! That is

precisely the great discovery I made yesterday. (Raises his

voice.) The most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom amongst us

is the compact majority--yes, the damned compact Liberal

majority--that is it! Now you know! (Tremendous uproar. Most of

the crowd are shouting, stamping and hissing. Some of the older

men among them exchange stolen glances and seem to be enjoying

themselves. MRS. STOCKMANN gets up, looking anxious. EJLIF and

MORTEN advance threateningly upon some schoolboys who are playing

pranks. ASLAKSEN rings his bell and begs for silence. HOVSTAD and

BILLING both talk at once, but are inaudible. At last quiet is



Aslaksen. As Chairman, I call upon the speaker to withdraw the

ill-considered expressions he has just used.


Dr. Stockmann. Never, Mr. Aslaksen! It is the majority in our

community that denies me my freedom and seeks to prevent my

speaking the truth.


Hovstad. The majority always has right on its side.


Billing. And truth too, by God!


Dr. Stockmann. The majority never has right on its side. Never, I

say! That is one of these social lies against which an

independent, intelligent man must wage war. Who is it that

constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the

clever folk, or the stupid? I don't imagine you will dispute the

fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely

overwhelming majority all the world over. But, good Lord!--you

can never pretend that it is right that the stupid folk should

govern the clever ones I (Uproar and cries.) Oh, yes--you can

shout me down, I know! But you cannot answer me. The majority has

might on its side--unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in

the right--I and a few other scattered individuals. The minority

is always in the right. (Renewed uproar.)


Hovstad. Aha!--so Dr. Stockmann has become an aristocrat since

the day before yesterday!


Dr. Stockmann. I have already said that I don't intend to waste a

word on the puny, narrow-chested, short-winded crew whom we are

leaving astern. Pulsating life no longer concerns itself with

them. I am thinking of the few, the scattered few amongst us, who

have absorbed new and vigorous truths. Such men stand, as it

were, at the outposts, so far ahead that the compact majority has

not yet been able to come up with them; and there they are

fighting for truths that are too newly-born into the world of

consciousness to have any considerable number of people on their

side as yet.


Hovstad. So the Doctor is a revolutionary now!


Dr. Stockmann. Good heavens--of course I am, Mr. Hovstad! I

propose to raise a revolution against the lie that the majority

has the monopoly of the truth. What sort of truths are they that

the majority usually supports? They are 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,

gentlemen. (Laughter and mocking cries.) Yes, believe me or not,

as you like; but truths are by no means as long-lived at

Methuselah--as some folk imagine. A normally constituted truth

lives, let us say, as a rule seventeen or eighteen, or at most

twenty years--seldom longer. But truths as aged as that are

always worn frightfully thin, and nevertheless it is only then

that the majority recognises them and recommends them to the

community as wholesome moral nourishment. There is no great

nutritive value in that sort of fare, I can assure you; and, as a

doctor, I ought to know. These "majority truths" are like last

year's cured meat--like rancid, tainted ham; and they are the

origin of the moral scurvy that is rampant in our communities.


Aslaksen. It appears to me that the speaker is wandering a long

way from his subject.


Peter Stockmann. I quite agree with the Chairman.


Dr. Stockmann. Have you gone clean out of your senses, Peter? I

am sticking as closely to my subject as I can; for my subject is

precisely this, that it is the masses, the majority--this

infernal compact majority--that poisons the sources of our moral

life and infects the ground we stand on.


Hovstad. And all this because the great, broadminded majority of

the people is prudent enough to show deference only to well-

ascertained and well-approved truths?


Dr. Stockmann. Ah, my good Mr. Hovstad, don't talk nonsense about

well-ascertained truths! The truths of which the masses now

approve are the very truths that the fighters at the outposts

held to in the days of our grandfathers. We fighters at the

outposts nowadays no longer approve of them; and I do not believe

there is any other well-ascertained truth except this, that no

community can live a healthy life if it is nourished only on such

old marrowless truths.


Hovstad. But, instead of standing there using vague generalities,

it would be interesting if you would tell us what these old

marrowless truths are, that we are nourished on.


(Applause from many quarters.)


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, I could give you a whole string of such

abominations; but to begin with I will confine myself to one

well-approved truth, which at bottom is a foul lie, but upon

which nevertheless Mr. Hovstad and the "People's Messenger" and

all the "Messenger's" supporters are nourished.


Hovstad. And that is--?


Dr. Stockmann. That is, the doctrine you have inherited from your

forefathers and proclaim thoughtlessly far and wide--the doctrine

that the public, the crowd, the masses, are the essential part of

the population--that they constitute the People--that the common

folk, the ignorant and incomplete element in the community, have

the same right to pronounce judgment and to, approve, to direct

and to govern, as the isolated, intellectually superior

personalities in it.


Billing. Well, damn me if ever I--


Hovstad (at the same time, shouting out). Fellow-citizens, take

good note of that!


A number of voices (angrily). Oho!--we are not the People! Only

the superior folk are to govern, are they!


A Workman. Turn the fellow out for talking such rubbish!


Another. Out with him!


Another (calling out). Blow your horn, Evensen!


(A horn is blown loudly, amidst hisses and an angry uproar.)


Dr. Stockmann (when the noise has somewhat abated). Be

reasonable! Can't you stand hearing the voice of truth for once?

I don't in the least expect you to agree with me all at once; but

I must say I did expect Mr. Hovstad to admit I was right, when he

had recovered his composure a little. He claims to be a



Voices (in murmurs of astonishment). Freethinker, did he say? Is

Hovstad a freethinker?


Hovstad (shouting). Prove it, Dr. Stockmann! When have I said so

in print?


Dr. Stockmann (reflecting). No, confound it, you are right!--you

have never had the courage to. Well, I won't put you in a hole,

Mr. Hovstad. Let us say it is I that am the freethinker, then. I

am going to prove to you, scientifically, that the "People's

Messenger" leads you by the nose in a shameful manner when it

tells you that you--that the common people, the crowd, the

masses, are the real essence of the People. That is only a

newspaper lie, I tell you! The common people are nothing more

than the raw material of which a People is made. (Groans,

laughter and uproar.) Well, isn't that the case? Isn't there an

enormous difference between a well-bred and an ill-bred strain of

animals? Take, for instance, a common barn-door hen. What sort of

eating do you get from a shrivelled up old scrag of a fowl like

that? Not much, do you! And what sort of eggs does it lay? A

fairly good crow or a raven can lay pretty nearly as good an egg.

But take a well-bred Spanish or Japanese hen, or a good pheasant

or a turkey--then you will see the difference. Or take the case

of dogs, with whom we humans are on such intimate terms. Think

first of an ordinary common cur--I mean one of the horrible,

coarse-haired, low-bred curs that do nothing but run about the

streets and befoul the walls of the houses. Compare one of these

curs with a poodle whose sires for many generations have been

bred in a gentleman's house, where they have had the best of food

and had the opportunity of hearing soft voices and music. Do you

not think that the poodle's brain is developed to quite a

different degree from that of the cur? Of course it is. It is

puppies of well-bred poodles like that, that showmen train to do

incredibly clever tricks--things that a common cur could never

learn to do even if it stood on its head. (Uproar and mocking



A Citizen (calls out). Are you going to make out we are dogs,



Another Citizen. We are not animals, Doctor!


Dr. Stockmann. Yes but, bless my soul, we are, my friend! It is

true we are the finest animals anyone could wish for; but, even

among us, exceptionally fine animals are rare. There is a

tremendous difference between poodle-men and cur-men. And the

amusing part of it is, that Mr. Hovstad quite agrees with me as

long as it is a question of four-footed animals--


Hovstad. Yes, it is true enough as far as they are concerned.


Dr. Stockmann. Very well. But as soon as I extend the principle

and apply it to two-legged animals, Mr. Hovstad stops short. He

no longer dares to think independently, or to pursue his ideas to

their logical conclusion; so, he turns the whole theory upside

down and proclaims in the "People's Messenger" that it is the

barn-door hens and street curs that are the finest specimens in

the menagerie. But that is always the way, as long as a man

retains the traces of common origin and has not worked his way up

to intellectual distinction.


Hovstad. I lay no claim to any sort of distinction, I am the son

of humble country-folk, and I am proud that the stock I come from

is rooted deep among the common people he insults.


Voices. Bravo, Hovstad! Bravo! Bravo!


Dr. Stockmann. The kind of common people I mean are not only to

be found low down in the social scale; they crawl and swarm all

around us--even in the highest social positions. You have only to

look at your own fine, distinguished Mayor! My brother Peter is

every bit as plebeian as anyone that walks in two shoes--

(laughter and hisses)


Peter Stockmann. I protest against personal allusions of this



Dr. Stockmann (imperturbably).--and that, not because he is like

myself, descended from some old rascal of a pirate from Pomerania

or thereabouts--because that is who we are descended from--


Peter Stockmann. An absurd legend. I deny it!


Dr. Stockmann. --but because he thinks what his superiors think,

and holds the same opinions as they, People who do that are,

intellectually speaking, common people; and, that is why my

magnificent brother Peter is in reality so very far from any

distinction--and consequently also so far from being liberal-



Peter Stockmann. Mr. Chairman--!


Hovstad. So it is only the distinguished men that are liberal-

minded in this country? We are learning something quite new!



Dr. Stockmann. Yes, that is part of my new discovery too. And

another part of it is that broad-mindedness is almost precisely

the same thing as morality. That is why I maintain that it is

absolutely inexcusable in the "People's Messenger" to proclaim,

day in and day out, the false doctrine that it is the masses, the

crowd, the compact majority, that have the monopoly of broad-

mindedness and morality--and that vice and corruption and every

kind of intellectual depravity are the result of culture, just as

all the filth that is draining into our Baths is the result of

the tanneries up at Molledal! (Uproar and interruptions. DR.

STOCKMANN is undisturbed, and goes on, carried away by his

ardour, with a smile.) And yet this same "People's Messenger" can

go on preaching that the masses ought to be elevated to higher

conditions of life! But, bless my soul, if the "Messenger's"

teaching is to be depended upon, this very raising up the masses

would mean nothing more or less than setting them straightway

upon the paths of depravity! Happily the theory that culture

demoralises is only an old falsehood that our forefathers

believed in and we have inherited. No, it is ignorance, poverty,

ugly conditions of life, that do the devil's work! In a house

which does not get aired and swept every day--my wife Katherine

maintains that the floor ought to be scrubbed as well, but that

is a debatable question--in such a house, let me tell you, people

will lose within two or three years the power of thinking or

acting in a moral manner. Lack of oxygen weakens the conscience.

And there must be a plentiful lack of oxygen in very many houses

in this town, I should think, judging from the fact that the

whole compact majority can be unconscientious enough to wish to

build the town's prosperity on a quagmire of falsehood and



Aslaksen. We cannot allow such a grave accusation to be flung at

a citizen community.


A Citizen. I move that the Chairman direct the speaker to sit



Voices (angrily). Hear, hear! Quite right! Make him sit down!


Dr. Stockmann (losing his self-control). Then I will go and shout

the truth at every street corner! I will write it in other towns'

newspapers! The whole country shall know what is going on here!


Hovstad. It almost seems as if Dr. Stockmann's intention were to

ruin the town.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, my native town is so dear to me that I would

rather ruin it than see it flourishing upon a lie.


Aslaksen. This is really serious. (Uproar and cat-calls MRS.

STOCKMANN coughs, but to no purpose; her husband does not listen

to her any longer.)


Hovstad (shouting above the din). A man must be a public enemy to

wish to ruin a whole community!


Dr. Stockmann (with growing fervor). What does the destruction

of a community matter, if it lives on lies? It ought to be razed

to the ground. I tell you-- All who live by lies ought to be

exterminated like vermin! You will end by infecting the whole

country; you will bring about such a state of things that the

whole country will deserve to be ruined. And if things come to

that pass, I shall say from the bottom of my heart: Let the whole

country perish, let all these people be exterminated!


Voices from the crowd. That is talking like an out-and-out enemy

of the people!


Billing. There sounded the voice of the people, by all that's



The whole crowd. (shouting). Yes, yes! He is an enemy of the

people! He hates his country! He hates his own people!


Aslaksen. Both as a citizen and as an individual, I am profoundly

disturbed by what we have had to listen to. Dr. Stockmann has

shown himself in a light I should never have dreamed of. I am

unhappily obliged to subscribe to the opinion which I have just

heard my estimable fellow-citizens utter; and I propose that we

should give expression to that opinion in a resolution. I propose

a resolution as follows: "This meeting declares that it considers

Dr. Thomas Stockmann, Medical Officer of the Baths, to be an

enemy of the people." (A storm of cheers and applause. A number

of men surround the DOCTOR and hiss him. MRS. STOCKMANN and PETRA

have got up from their seats. MORTEN and EJLIF are fighting the

other schoolboys for hissing; some of their elders separate



Dr. Stockmann (to the men who are hissing him). Oh, you fools! I

tell you that--


Aslaksen (ringing his bell). We cannot hear you now, Doctor. A

formal vote is about to be taken; but, out of regard for personal

feelings, it shall be by ballot and not verbal. Have you any

clean paper, Mr. Billing?


Billing. I have both blue and white here.


Aslaksen (going to him). That will do nicely; we shall get on

more quickly that way. Cut it up into small strips--yes, that's

it. (To the meeting.) Blue means no; white means yes. I will come

round myself and collect votes. (PETER STOCKMANN leaves the hall.

ASLAKSEN and one or two others go round the room with the slips

of paper in their hats.)


1st Citizen (to HOVSTAD). I say, what has come to the Doctor?

What are we to think of it?


Hovstad. Oh, you know how headstrong he is.


2nd Citizen (to BILLING). Billing, you go to their house--have

you ever noticed if the fellow drinks?


Billing. Well I'm hanged if I know what to say. There are always

spirits on the table when you go.


3rd Citizen. I rather think he goes quite off his head sometimes.


1st Citizen. I wonder if there is any madness in his family?


Billing. I shouldn't wonder if there were.


4th Citizen. No, it is nothing more than sheer malice; he wants

to get even with somebody for something or other.


Billing. Well certainly he suggested a rise in his salary on one

occasion lately, and did not get it.


The Citizens (together). Ah!--then it is easy to understand how

it is!


The Drunken Man (who has got among the audience again). I want

a blue one, I do! And I want a white one too!


Voices. It's that drunken chap again! Turn him out!


Morten Kiil. (going up to DR. STOCKMANN). Well, Stockmann, do you

see what these monkey tricks of yours lead to?


Dr. Stockmann. I have done my duty.


Morten Kiil. What was that you said about the tanneries at



Dr. Stockmann. You heard well enough. I said they were the source

of all the filth.


Morten Kiil. My tannery too?


Dr. Stockmann. Unfortunately your tannery is by far the worst.


Morten Kiil. Are you going to put that in the papers?


Dr. Stockmann. I shall conceal nothing.


Morten Kiil. That may cost you dearly, Stockmann. (Goes out.)


A Stout Man (going UP to CAPTAIN HORSTER, Without taking any

notice of the ladies). Well, Captain, so you lend your house to

enemies of the people?


Horster. I imagine I can do what I like with my own possessions,

Mr. Vik.


The Stout Man. Then you can have no objection to my doing the

same with mine.


Horster. What do you mean, sir?


The Stout Man. You shall hear from me in the morning. (Turns his

back on him and moves off.)


Petra. Was that not your owner, Captain Horster?


Horster. Yes, that was Mr. Vik the shipowner.


Aslaksen (with the voting-papers in his hands, gets up on to the

platform and rings his bell). Gentlemen, allow me to announce the

result. By the votes of every one here except one person--


A Young Man. That is the drunk chap!


Aslaksen. By the votes of everyone here except a tipsy man, this

meeting of citizens declares Dr. Thomas Stockmann to be an enemy

of the people. (Shouts and applause.) Three cheers for our

ancient and honourable citizen community! (Renewed applause.)

Three cheers for our able and energetic Mayor, who has so loyally

suppressed the promptings of family feeling! (Cheers.) The

meeting is dissolved. (Gets down.)


Billing. Three cheers for the Chairman!


The whole crowd. Three cheers for Aslaksen! Hurrah!


Dr. Stockmann. My hat and coat, Petra! Captain, have you room on

your ship for passengers to the New World?


Horster. For you and yours we will make room, Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann (as PETRA helps him into his coat), Good. Come,

Katherine! Come, boys!


Mrs. Stockmann (in an undertone). Thomas, dear, let us go out by

the back way.


Dr. Stockmann. No back ways for me, Katherine, (Raising his

voice.) You will hear more of this enemy of the people, before he

shakes the dust off his shoes upon you! I am not so forgiving as

a certain Person; I do not say: "I forgive you, for ye know not

what ye do."


Aslaksen (shouting). That is a blasphemous comparison, Dr.



Billing. It is, by God! It's dreadful for an earnest man to

listen to.


A Coarse Voice. Threatens us now, does he!


Other Voices (excitedly). Let's go and break his windows! Duck

him in the fjord!


Another Voice. Blow your horn, Evensen! Pip, pip!


(Horn-blowing, hisses, and wild cries. DR. STOCKMANN goes out

through the hall with his family, HORSTER elbowing a way for



The Whole Crowd (howling after them as they go). Enemy of the

People! Enemy of the People!


Billing (as he puts his papers together). Well, I'm damned if I

go and drink toddy with the Stockmanns tonight!


(The crowd press towards the exit. The uproar continues outside;

shouts of "Enemy of the People!" are heard from without.)




(SCENE.--DR. STOCKMANN'S study. Bookcases and cabinets

containing specimens, line the walls. At the back is a door

leading to the hall; in the foreground on the left, a door

leading to the sitting-room. In the righthand wall are two

windows, of which all the panes are broken. The DOCTOR'S desk,

littered with books and papers, stands in the middle of the room,

which is in disorder. It is morning. DR. STOCKMANN in dressing-

gown, slippers and a smoking-cap, is bending down and raking with

an umbrella under one of the cabinets. After a little while he

rakes out a stone.)


Dr. Stockmann (calling through the open sitting-room door).

Katherine, I have found another one.


Mrs. Stockmann (from the sitting-room). Oh, you will find a lot

more yet, I expect.


Dr. Stockmann (adding the stone to a heap of others on the

table). I shall treasure these stones as relies. Ejlif and Morten

shall look at them everyday, and when they are grown up they

shall inherit them as heirlooms. (Rakes about under a bookcase.)

Hasn't--what the deuce is her name?--the girl, you know--hasn't

she been to fetch the glazier yet?


Mrs. Stockmann (coming in). Yes, but he said he didn't know if he

would be able to come today.


Dr. Stockmann. You will see he won't dare to come.


Mrs. Stockmann. Well, that is just what Randine thought--that he

didn't dare to, on account of the neighbours. (Calls into the

sitting-room.) What is it you want, Randine? Give it to me. (Goes

in, and comes out again directly.) Here is a letter for you,



Dr. Stockmann. Let me see it. (Opens and reads it.) Ah!--of



Mrs. Stockmann. Who is it from?


Dr. Stockmann. From the landlord. Notice to quit.


Mrs. Stockmann. Is it possible? Such a nice man


Dr. Stockmann (looking at the letter). Does not dare do

otherwise, he says. Doesn't like doing it, but dare not do

otherwise--on account of his fellow-citizens--out of regard for

public opinion. Is in a dependent position--dares not offend

certain influential men.


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



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.


Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas dear, the imprudent things you said

had something to do with it, you know.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, isn't what I said perfectly true? Don't they

turn every idea topsy-turvy? Don't they make a regular hotchpotch

of right and wrong? Don't they say that the things I know are

true, are lies? The craziest part of it all is the fact of these

"liberals," men of full age, going about in crowds imagining that

they are the broad-minded party! Did you ever hear anything like

it, Katherine!


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, yes, it's mad enough of them, certainly;

but--(PETRA comes in from the silting-room). Back from school



Petra. Yes. I have been given notice of dismissal.


Mrs. Stockmann. Dismissal?


Dr. Stockmann. You too?


Petra. Mrs. Busk gave me my notice; so I thought it was best to

go at once.


Dr. Stockmann. You were perfectly right, too!


Mrs. Stockmann. Who would have thought Mrs. Busk was a woman like



Petra. Mrs. Busk isn't a bit like that, mother; I saw quite

plainly how it hurt her to do it. But she didn't dare do

otherwise, she said; and so I got my notice.


Dr. Stockmann (laughing and rubbing his hands). She didn't dare

do otherwise, either! It's delicious!


Mrs. Stockmann. Well, after the dreadful scenes last night--


Petra. It was not only that. Just listen to this, father!


Dr. Stockmann. Well?


Petra. Mrs. Busk showed me no less than three letters she

received this morning--


Dr. Stockmann. Anonymous, I suppose?


Petra. Yes.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, because they didn't dare to risk signing

their names, Katherine!


Petra. And two of them were to the effect that a man, who has

been our guest here, was declaring last night at the Club that my

views on various subjects are extremely emancipated--


Dr. Stockmann. You did not deny that, I hope?


Petra. No, you know I wouldn't. Mrs. Busk's own views are

tolerably emancipated, when we are alone together; but now that

this report about me is being spread, she dare not keep me on any



Mrs. Stockmann. And someone who had been a guest of ours! That

shows you the return you get for your hospitality, Thomas!


Dr. Stockmann. We won't live in such a disgusting hole any

longer. Pack up as quickly as you can, Katherine; the sooner we

can get away, the better.


Mrs. Stockmann. Be quiet--I think I hear someone in the hall.

See who it is, Petra.


Petra (opening the door). Oh, it's you, Captain Horster! Do come



Horster (coming in). Good morning. I thought I would just come in

and see how you were.


Dr. Stockmann (shaking his hand). Thanks--that is really kind of



Mrs. Stockmann. And thank you, too, for helping us through the

crowd, Captain Horster.


Petra. How did you manage to get home again?


Horster. Oh, somehow or other. I am fairly strong, and there is

more sound than fury about these folk.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, isn't their swinish cowardice astonishing?

Look here, I will show you something! There are all the stones

they have thrown through my windows. Just look at them! I'm

hanged if there are more than two decently large bits of

hard stone in the whole heap; the rest are nothing but gravel--

wretched little things. And yet they stood out there bawling and

swearing that they would do me some violence; but as for doing

anything--you don't see much of that in this town.


Horster. Just as well for you this time, doctor!


Dr. Stockmann. True enough. But it makes one angry all the same;

because if some day it should be a question of a national fight

in real earnest, you will see that public opinion will be in

favour of taking to one's heels, and the compact majority will

turn tail like a flock of sheep, Captain Horster. That is what is

so mournful to think of; it gives me so much concern, that--. No,

devil take it, it is ridiculous to care about it! They have

called me an enemy of the people, so an enemy of the people let

me be!


Mrs. Stockmann. You will never be that, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. Don't swear to that, Katherine. To be called an

ugly name may have the same effect as a pin-scratch in the lung.

And that hateful name--I can't get quit of it. It is sticking

here in the pit of my stomach, eating into me like a corrosive

acid. And no magnesia will remove it.


Petra. Bah!--you should only laugh at them, father,


Horster. They will change their minds some day, Doctor.


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, Thomas, as sure as you are standing here.


Dr. Stockmann. Perhaps, when it is too late. Much good may it do

them! They may wallow in their filth then and rue the day when

they drove a patriot into exile. When do you sail, Captain



Horster. Hm!--that was just what I had come to speak about--


Dr. Stockmann. Why, has anything gone wrong with the ship?


Horster. No; but what has happened is that I am not to sail in



Petra. Do you mean that you have been dismissed from your



Horster (smiling). Yes, that's just it.


Petra. You too.


Mrs. Stockmann. There, you see, Thomas!


Dr. Stockmann. And that for the truth's sake! Oh, if I had

thought such a thing possible--


Horster. You mustn't take it to heart; I shall be sure to find a

job with some ship-owner or other, elsewhere.


Dr. Stockmann. And that is this man Vik--a wealthy man,

independent of everyone and everything--! Shame on him!


Horster. He is quite an excellent fellow otherwise; he told me

himself he would willingly have kept me on, if only he had dared--


Dr. Stockmann. But he didn't dare? No, of course not.


Horster. It is not such an easy matter, he said, for a party man--


Dr. Stockmann. The worthy man spoke the truth. A party is like a

sausage machine; it mashes up all sorts of heads together into

the same mincemeat--fatheads and blockheads, all in one mash!


Mrs. Stockmann. Come, come, Thomas dear!


Petra (to HORSTER). If only you had not come home with us, things

might not have come to this pass.


Horster. I do not regret it.


Petra (holding out her hand to him). Thank you for that!


Horster (to DR. STOCKMANN). And so what I came to say was that if

you are determined to go away, I have thought of another plan--


Dr. Stockmann. That's splendid!--if only we can get away at once.


Mrs. Stockmann. Hush!--wasn't that some one knocking?


Petra. That is uncle, surely.


Dr. Stockmann. Aha! (Calls out.) Come in!


Mrs. Stockmann. Dear Thomas, promise me definitely--. (PETER

STOCKMANN comes in from the hall.)


Peter Stockmann. Oh, you are engaged. In that case, I will--


Dr. Stockmann. No, no, come in.


Peter Stockmann. But I wanted to speak to you alone.


Mrs. Stockmann. We will go into the sitting-room in the



Horster. And I will look in again later.


Dr. Stockmann. No, go in there with them, Captain Horster; I want

to hear more about--.


Horster. Very well, I will wait, then. (He follows MRS. STOCKMANN

and PETRA into the sitting-room.)


Dr. Stockmann. I daresay you find it rather draughty here today.

Put your hat on.


Peter Stockmann. Thank you, if I may. (Does so.) I think I caught

cold last night; I stood and shivered--


Dr. Stockmann. Really? I found it warm enough.


Peter Stockmann. I regret that it was not in my power to prevent

those excesses last night.


Dr. Stockmann. Have you anything in particular to say to me

besides that?


Peter Stockmann (taking a big letter from his pocket). I have

this document for you, from the Baths Committee.


Dr. Stockmann. My dismissal?


Peter Stockmann. Yes, dating from today. (Lays the letter on the

table.) It gives us pain to do it; but, to speak frankly, we

dared not do otherwise on account of public opinion.


Dr. Stockmann (smiling). Dared not? I seem to have heard that

word before, today.


Peter Stockmann. I must beg you to understand your position

clearly. For the future you must not count on any practice

whatever in the town.


Dr. Stockmann. Devil take the practice! But why are you so sure

of that?


Peter Stockmann. The Householders' Association is circulating a

list from house to house. All right-minded citizens are being

called upon to give up employing you; and I can assure you that

not a single head of a family will risk refusing his signature.

They simply dare not.


Dr. Stockmann. No, no; I don't doubt it. But what then?


Peter Stockmann. If I might advise you, it would be best to leave

the place for a little while--


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, the propriety of leaving the place has

occurred to me.


Peter Stockmann. Good. And then, when you have had six months to

think things over, if, after mature consideration, you can

persuade yourself to write a few words of regret, acknowledging

your error--


Dr. Stockmann. I might have my appointment restored to me, do you



Peter Stockmann. Perhaps. It is not at all impossible.


Dr. Stockmann. But what about public opinion, then? Surely you

would not dare to do it on account of public feeling...


Peter Stockmann. Public opinion is an extremely mutable thing.

And, to be quite candid with you, it is a matter of great

importance to us to have some admission of that sort from you in



Dr. Stockmann. Oh, that's what you are after, is it! I will just

trouble you to remember what I said to you lately about foxy

tricks of that sort!


Peter Stockmann. Your position was quite different then. At that

time you had reason to suppose you had the whole town at your



Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and now I feel I have the whole town ON my

back--(flaring up). I would not do it if I had the devil and his

dam on my back--! Never--never, I tell you!


Peter Stockmann. A man with a family has no right to behave as

you do. You have no right to do it, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. I have no right! There is only one single thing in

the world a free man has no right to do. Do you know what that



Peter Stockmann. No.


Dr. Stockmann. Of course you don't, but I will tell you. A free

man has no right to soil himself with filth; he has no right to

behave in a way that would justify his spitting in his own face.


Peter Stockmann. This sort of thing sounds extremely plausible,

of course; and if there were no other explanation for your

obstinacy--. But as it happens that there is.


Dr. Stockmann. What do you mean?


Peter Stockmann. You understand, very well what I mean. But, as

your brother and as a man of discretion, I advise you not to

build too much upon expectations and prospects that may so very

easily fail you.


Dr. Stockmann. What in the world is all this about?


Peter Stockmann. Do you really ask me to believe that you are

ignorant of the terms of Mr. Kiil's will?


Dr. Stockmann. I know that the small amount he possesses is to go

to an institution for indigent old workpeople. How does that

concern me?


Peter Stockmann. In the first place, it is by no means a small

amount that is in question. Mr. Kiil is a fairly wealthy man.


Dr. Stockmann. I had no notion of that!


Peter Stockmann. Hm!--hadn't you really? Then I suppose you had

no notion, either, that a considerable portion of his wealth will

come to your children, you and your wife having a life-rent of

the capital. Has he never told you so?


Dr. Stockmann. Never, on my honour! Quite the reverse; he has

consistently done nothing but fume at being so unconscionably

heavily taxed. But are you perfectly certain of this, Peter?


Peter Stockmann. I have it from an absolutely reliable source.


Dr. Stockmann. Then, thank God, Katherine is provided for--and

the children too! I must tell her this at once--(calls out)

Katherine, Katherine!


Peter Stockmann (restraining him). Hush, don't say a word yet!


Mrs. Stockmann (opening the door). What is the matter?


Dr, Stockmann. Oh, nothing, nothing; you can go back. (She shuts

the door. DR. STOCKMANN walks up and down in his excitement.)

Provided for!--Just think of it, we are all provided for! And for

life! What a blessed feeling it is to know one is provided for!


Peter Stockmann. Yes, but that is just exactly what you are not.

Mr. Kiil can alter his will any day he likes.


Dr. Stockmann. But he won't do that, my dear Peter. The "Badger"

is much too delighted at my attack on you and your wise friends.


Peter Stockmann (starts and looks intently at him). Ali, that

throws a light on various things.


Dr. Stockmann. What things?


Peter Stockmann. I see that the whole thing was a combined

manoeuvre on your part and his. These violent, reckless attacks

that you have made against the leading men of the town, under the

pretence that it was in the name of truth--


Dr. Stockmann. What about them?


Peter Stockmann. I see that they were nothing else than the

stipulated price for that vindictive old man's will.


Dr. Stockmann (almost speechless). Peter--you are the most

disgusting plebeian I have ever met in all my life.


Peter Stockmann. All is over between us. Your dismissal is

irrevocable--we have a weapon against you now. (Goes out.)


Dr. Stockmann. For shame! For shame! (Calls out.) Katherine, you

must have the floor scrubbed after him! Let--what's her name--

devil take it, the girl who has always got soot on her nose--


Mrs. Stockmann. (in the sitting-room). Hush, Thomas, be quiet!


Petra (coming to the door). Father, grandfather is here, asking

if he may speak to you alone.


Dr. Stockmann. Certainly he may. (Going to the door.) Come in,

Mr. Kiil. (MORTEN KIIL comes in. DR. STOCKMANN shuts the door

after him.) What can I do for you? Won't you sit down?


Morten Kiil. I won't sit. (Looks around.) You look very

comfortable here today, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, don't we!


Morten Kiil. Very comfortable--plenty of fresh air. I should

think you have got enough to-day of that oxygen you were talking

about yesterday. Your conscience must be in splendid order to-

day, I should think.


Dr. Stockmann. It is.


Morten Kiil. So I should think. (Taps his chest.) Do you know

what I have got here?


Dr. Stockmann. A good conscience, too, I hope.


Morten Kiil. Bah!--No, it is something better than that. (He

takes a thick pocket-book from his breast-pocket, opens it, and

displays a packet of papers.)


Dr. Stockmann (looking at him in astonishment). Shares in the



Morten Kiil. They were not difficult to get today.


Dr. Stockmann. And you have been buying--?


Morten Kiil. As many as I could pay for.


Dr. Stockmann. But, my dear Mr. Kiil--consider the state of the

Baths' affairs!


Morten Kiil. If you behave like a reasonable man, you can soon

set the Baths on their feet again.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, you can see for yourself that I have done

all I can, but--. They are all mad in this town!


Morten Kiil. You said yesterday that the worst of this pollution

came from my tannery. If that is true, then my grandfather and my

father before me, and I myself, for many years past, have been

poisoning the town like three destroying angels. Do you think I

am going to sit quiet under that reproach?


Dr. Stockmann. Unfortunately I am afraid you will have to.


Morten Kiil. No, thank you. I am jealous of my name and

reputation. They call me "the Badger," I am told. A badger is a

kind of pig, I believe; but I am not going to give them the right

to call me that. I mean to live and die a clean man.


Dr. Stockmann. And how are you going to set about it?


Morten Kiil. You shall cleanse me, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. I!


Morten Kiil. Do you know what money I have bought these shares

with? No, of course you can't know--but I will tell you. It is

the money that Katherine and Petra and the boys will have when I

am gone. Because I have been able to save a little bit after all,

you know.


Dr, Stockmann (flaring up). And you have gone and taken

Katherine's money for this!


Morten Kiil. Yes, the whole of the money is invested in the Baths

now. And now I just want to see whether you are quite stark,

staring mad, Thomas! If you still make out that these animals and

other nasty things of that sort come from my tannery, it will be

exactly as if you were to flay broad strips of skin from

Katherine's body, and Petra's, and the boys'; and no decent man

would do that--unless he were mad.


Dr. Stockmann (walking up and down). Yes, but I am mad; I am mad!


Morten Kiil. You cannot be so absurdly mad as all that, when it

is a question of your wife and children.


Dr. Stockmann (standing still in front of him). Why couldn't you

consult me about it, before you went and bought all that trash?


Morten Kiil. What is done cannot be undone.


Dr. Stockmann (walks about uneasily). If only I were not so

certain about it--! But I am absolutely convinced that I am



Morten Kiil (weighing the pocket-book in his hand). If you stick

to your mad idea, this won't be worth much, you know. (Puts the

pocket-book in his pocket.)


Dr. Stockmann. But, hang it all! It might be possible for science

to discover some prophylactic, I should think--or some antidote

of some kind--


Morten Kiil. To kill these animals, do you mean?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, or to make them innocuous.


Morten Kiil. Couldn't you try some rat's-bane?


Dr. Stockmann. Don't talk nonsense! They all say it is only

imagination, you know. Well, let it go at that! Let them have

their own way about it! Haven't the ignorant, narrow-minded curs

reviled me as an enemy of the people?--and haven't they been

ready to tear the clothes off my back too?


Morten Kiil. And broken all your windows to pieces!


Dr. Stockmann. And then there is my duty to my family. I must

talk it over with Katherine; she is great on those things,


Morten Kiil. That is right; be guided by a reasonable woman's



Dr. Stockmann (advancing towards him). To think you could do such

a preposterous thing!  Risking Katherine's money in this way, and

putting me in such a horribly painful dilemma! When I look at

you, I think I see the devil himself--.


Morten Kiil. Then I had better go. But I must have an answer from

you before two o'clock--yes or no. If it is no, the shares go to

a charity, and that this very day.


Dr. Stockmann. And what does Katherine get?


Morten Kiil. Not a halfpenny. (The door leading to the hall

opens, and HOVSTAD and ASLAKSEN make their appearance.) Look at

those two!


Dr. Stockmann (staring at them). What the devil!--have YOU

actually the face to come into my house?


Hovstad. Certainly.


Aslaksen. We have something to say to you, you see.


Morten Kiil (in a whisper). Yes or no--before two o'clock.


Aslaksen (glancing at HOVSTAD). Aha! (MORTEN KIIL goes out.)


Dr. Stockmann. Well, what do you want with me? Be brief.


Hovstad. I can quite understand that you are annoyed with us for

our attitude at the meeting yesterday.


Dr. Stockmann. Attitude, do you call it? Yes, it was a charming

attitude! I call it weak, womanish--damnably shameful!


Hovstad. Call it what you like, we could not do otherwise.


Dr. Stockmann. You DARED not do otherwise--isn't that it?


Hovstad. Well, if you like to put it that way.


Aslaksen. But why did you not let us have word of it beforehand?

--just a hint to Mr. Hovstad or to me?


Dr. Stockmann. A hint? Of what?


Aslaksen. Of what was behind it all.


Dr. Stockmann. I don't understand you in the least--


Aslaksen (with a confidential nod). Oh yes, you do, Dr.



Hovstad. It is no good making a mystery of it any longer.


Dr. Stockmann (looking first at one of them and then at the

other). What the devil do you both mean?


Aslaksen. May I ask if your father-in-law is not going round the

town buying up all the shares in the Baths?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, he has been buying Baths shares today; but--


Aslaksen. It would have been more prudent to get someone else to

do it--someone less nearly related to you.


Hovstad. And you should not have let your name appear in the

affair. There was no need for anyone to know that the attack on

the Baths came from you. You ought to have consulted me, Dr.



Dr. Stockmann (looks in front of him; then a light seems to dawn

on him and he says in amazement.) Are such things conceivable?

Are such things possible?


Aslaksen (with a smile). Evidently they are. But it is better to

use a little finesse, you know.


Hovstad. And it is much better to have several persons in a thing

of that sort; because the responsibility of each individual is

lessened, when there are others with him.


Dr. Stockmann (composedly). Come to the point, gentlemen. What do

you want?


Aslaksen. Perhaps Mr. Hovstad had better--


Hovstad. No, you tell him, Aslaksen.


Aslaksen. Well, the fact is that, now we know the bearings of the

whole affair, we think we might venture to put the "People's

Messenger" at your disposal.


Dr. Stockmann. Do you dare do that now? What about public

opinion? Are you not afraid of a storm breaking upon our heads?


Hovstad. We will try to weather it.


Aslaksen. And you must be ready to go off quickly on a new tack,

Doctor. As soon as your invective has done its work--


Dr. Stockmann. Do you mean, as soon as my father-in-law and I

have got hold of the shares at a low figure?


Hovstad. Your reasons for wishing to get the control of the Baths

are mainly scientific, I take it.


Dr. Stockmann. Of course; it was for scientific reasons that I

persuaded the old "Badger" to stand in with me in the matter. So

we will tinker at the conduit-pipes a little, and dig up a little

bit of the shore, and it shan't cost the town a sixpence. That

will be all right--eh?


Hovstad. I think so--if you have the "People's Messenger" behind



Aslaksen. The Press is a power in a free community. Doctor.


Dr. Stockmann. Quite so. And so is public opinion. And you, Mr.

Aslaksen--I suppose you will be answerable for the Householders'



Aslaksen. Yes, and for the Temperance Society. You may rely on



Dr. Stockmann. But, gentlemen--I really am ashamed to ask the

question--but, what return do you--?


Hovstad. We should prefer to help you without any return

whatever, believe me. But the "People's Messenger" is in rather a

shaky condition; it doesn't go really well; and I should be very

unwilling to suspend the paper now, when there is so much work to

do here in the political way.


Dr. Stockmann. Quite so; that would be a great trial to such a

friend of the people as you are. (Flares up.) But I am an enemy

of the people, remember! (Walks about the room.) Where have I put

my stick? Where the devil is my stick?


Hovstad. What's that?


Aslaksen. Surely you never mean--


Dr. Stockmann (standing still.) And suppose I don't give you a

single penny of all I get out of it? Money is not very easy to

get out of us rich folk, please to remember!


Hovstad. And you please to remember that this affair of the

shares can be represented in two ways!


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and you are just the man to do it. If I don't

come to the rescue of the "People's Messenger," you will

certainly take an evil view of the affair; you will hunt me down,

I can well imagine--pursue me--try to throttle me as a dog does a



Hovstad. It is a natural law; every animal must fight for its own



Aslaksen. And get its food where it can, you know.


Dr. Stockmann (walking about the room). Then you go and look for

yours in the gutter; because I am going to show you which is the

strongest animal of us three! (Finds an umbrella and brandishes

it above his head.) Ah, now--!


Hovstad. You are surely not going to use violence!


Aslaksen. Take care what you are doing with that umbrella.


Dr. Stockmann. Out of the window with you, Mr. Hovstad!


Hovstad (edging to the door). Are you quite mad!


Dr. Stockmann. Out of the window, Mr. Aslaksen! Jump, I tell you!

You will have to do it, sooner or later.


Aslaksen (running round the writing-table). Moderation, Doctor--I

am a delicate man--I can stand so little--(calls out) help, help!


(MRS. STOCKMANN, PETRA and HORSTER come in from the sitting-



Mrs. Stockmann. Good gracious, Thomas! What is happening?


Dr. Stockmann (brandishing the umbrella). Jump out, I tell you!

Out into the gutter!


Hovstad. An assault on an unoffending man! I call you to witness,

Captain Horster. (Hurries out through the hall.)


Aslaksen (irresolutely). If only I knew the way about here--.

(Steals out through the sitting-room.)


Mrs. Stockmann (holding her husband back). Control yourself,



Dr. Stockmann (throwing down the umbrella). Upon my soul, they

have escaped after all.


Mrs. Stockmann. What did they want you to do?


Dr. Stockmann. I will tell you later on; I have something else to

think about now. (Goes to the table and writes something on a

calling-card.) Look there, Katherine; what is written there?


Mrs. Stockmann. Three big Noes; what does that mean.


Dr. Stockmann. I will tell you that too, later on. (Holds out the

card to PETRA.) There, Petra; tell sooty-face to run over to the

"Badger's" with that, as quick as she can. Hurry up! (PETRA takes

the card and goes out to the hall.)


Dr. Stockmann. Well, I think I have had a visit from every one of

the devil's messengers to-day! But now I am going to sharpen my

pen till they can feel its point; I shall dip it in venom and

gall; I shall hurl my inkpot at their heads!


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, but we are going away, you know, Thomas.


(PETRA comes back.)


Dr. Stockmann. Well?


Petra. She has gone with it.


Dr. Stockmann. Good.--Going away, did you say? No, I'll be hanged

if we are going away! We are going to stay where we are,



Petra. Stay here?


Mrs. Stockmann. Here, in the town?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, here. This is the field of battle--this is

where the fight will be. This is where I shall triumph! As soon

as I have had my trousers sewn up I shall go out and look for

another house. We must have a roof over our heads for the winter.


Horster. That you shall have in my house.


Dr. Stockmann. Can I?


Horsier. Yes, quite well. I have plenty of room, and I am almost

never at home.


Mrs. Stockmann. How good of you, Captain Horster!


Petra. Thank you!


Dr. Stockmann (grasping his hand). Thank you, thank you! That is

one trouble over! Now I can set to work in earnest at once. There

is an endless amount of things to look through here, Katherine!

Luckily I shall have all my time at my disposal; because I have

been dismissed from the Baths, you know.


Mrs. Stockmann (with a sigh). Oh yes, I expected that.


Dr. Stockmann. And they want to take my practice away from me

too. Let them! I have got the poor people to fall back upon,

anyway--those that don't pay anything; and, after all, they need

me most, too. But, by Jove, they will have to listen to me; I

shall preach to them in season and out of season, as it says



Mrs. Stockmann. But, dear Thomas, I should have thought events

had showed you what use it is to preach.


Dr. Stockmann. You are really ridiculous, Katherine. Do you want

me to let myself be beaten off the field by public opinion and

the compact majority and all that devilry? No, thank you! And

what I want to do is so simple and clear and straightforward. I

only want to drum into the heads of these curs the fact that the

liberals are the most insidious enemies of freedom--that party

programmes strangle every young and vigorous truth--that

considerations of expediency turn morality and justice upside

down--and that they will end by making life here unbearable.

Don't you think, Captain Horster, that I ought to be able to make

people understand that?


Horster. Very likely; I don't know much about such things myself.


Dr. Stockmann. Well, look here--I will explain! It is the party

leaders that must be exterminated. A party leader is like a wolf,

you see--like a voracious wolf. He requires a certain number of

smaller victims to prey upon every year, if he is to live. Just

look at Hovstad and Aslaksen! How many smaller victims have they

not put an end to--or at any rate maimed and mangled until they

are fit for nothing except to be householders or subscribers to

the "People's Messenger"! (Sits down on the edge of the table.)

Come here, Katherine--look how beautifully the sun shines to-day!

And this lovely spring air I am drinking in!


Mrs. Stockmann. Yes, if only we could live on sunshine and spring

air, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. Oh, you will have to pinch and save a bit--then we

shall get along. That gives me very little concern. What is much

worse is, that I know of no one who is liberal-minded and high-

minded enough to venture to take up my work after me.


Petra. Don't think about that, father; you have plenty of time

before you.--Hello, here are the boys already!


(EJLIF and MORTEN come in from the sitting-room.)


Mrs. Stockmann. Have you got a holiday?


Morten. No; but we were fighting with the other boys between



Ejlif. That isn't true; it was the other boys were fighting with



Morten. Well, and then Mr. Rorlund said we had better stay at

home for a day or two.


Dr. Stockmann (snapping his fingers and getting up from the

table). I have it! I have it, by Jove! You shall never set foot

in the school again!


The Boys. No more school!


Mrs. Stockmann. But, Thomas--


Dr. Stockmann. Never, I say. I will educate you myself; that is

to say, you shan't learn a blessed thing--


Morten. Hooray!


Dr. Stockmann. --but I will make liberal-minded and high-minded

men of you. You must help me with that, Petra.


Petra, Yes, father, you may be sure I will.


Dr. Stockmann. And my school shall be in the room where they

insulted me and called me an enemy of the people. But we are too

few as we are; I must have at least twelve boys to begin with.


Mrs. Stockmann. You will certainly never get them in this town.


Dr. Stockmann. We shall. (To the boys.) Don't you know any street

urchins--regular ragamuffins--?


Morten. Yes, father, I know lots!


Dr. Stockmann. That's capital! Bring me some specimens of them. I

am going to experiment with curs, just for once; there may be

some exceptional heads among them.


Morten. And what are we going to do, when you have made liberal-

minded and high-minded men of us?


Dr. Stockmann. Then you shall drive all the wolves out of the

country, my boys!


(EJLIF looks rather doubtful about it; MORTEN jumps about crying



Mrs. Stockmann. Let us hope it won't be the wolves that will

drive you out of the country, Thomas.


Dr. Stockmann. Are you out of your mind, Katherine? Drive me out!

Now--when I am the strongest man in the town!


Mrs. Stockmann. The strongest--now?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes, and I will go so far as to say that now I am

the strongest man in the whole world.


Morten. I say!


Dr. Stockmann (lowering his voice). Hush! You mustn't say

anything about it yet; but I have made a great discovery.


Mrs. Stockmann. Another one?


Dr. Stockmann. Yes. (Gathers them round him, and says

confidentially:) It is this, let me tell you--that the strongest

man in the world is he who stands most alone.


Mrs. Stockmann (smiling and shaking her head). Oh, Thomas,



Petra (encouragingly, as she grasps her father's hands). Father!

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