An Enemy of the People (Ibsen)

For works with similar titles, see An Enemy of the People.
An Enemy of the People  (1882) 
by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Robert Farquharson Sharp

An Enemy of the People addresses the irrational tendencies of the masses, and the hypocritical and corrupt nature of the political system that they support. It is the story of one man's brave struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance. The play's protagonist, Dr Stockmann, represents the playwright's own voice. Upon completion of the play, Ibsen wrote to his publisher in Copenhagen : "I am still uncertain as to whether I should call it a comedy or a straight drama. It may have many traits of comedy, but it also is based on a serious idea." Translated 1911.

— Excerpted from An Enemy of the People on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.

Speaker Icon.svg one or more acts are available in a spoken word format.

A play in five acts

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

Original title page
  • 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.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1945, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 77 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.