It is easier to subordinate yourself and believe in what the majority believes in rather than standing up for your principles. Standing up to what you believe in and sticking to your principles cause problems for the person standing for his beliefs because the blame will be on that person. Some people realize the consequences and go with the way the majority thinks; others are entirely blinded and think that they can face the majority and convince them that their principles and beliefs are for their benefit and the sake of the people.
In the play An Enemy of the People, it is noticed that Dr.Stockmann is a kind of character who stands for its believes and principles and wants the best for the townspeople; he also lives his life to the fullest, a family man a decent and honorable loving character. Dr.Stockmann works for the best of the townspeople, he wants the majority to know the truth, and he struggles to do so. To expose the truth to the public, Dr.Stockmann must face many obstacles on his journey to achieve his goal. In the play, Peter Stockmann, his brother and the mayor that represents the authority figure stands as a significant obstacle in the journey of what Dr.Stockmann is trying to deliver to the people by exposing the truth to the public.
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Peter Stockmann is arguing with his younger brother Dr.Stockmann the case of Kirsten Springs and what will happen to the town and its financial income because of such a place that will be beneficial to the people; this is a method used by Peter to convince Dr.Stockmann that he should accept what the majority believes in, and by trying to talk to Dr.Stockmann from the point which is concerning him the most which are the best for his town, but as we can see Dr.Stockmann is completely blinded and did not think carefully of the consequences.
Peter is calm in talking while Dr.Stockmann’s language is tense, and he uses sharp words with effective meanings; on the other hand, Peter is trying to cover it because he knows the consequences and what will happen at the end by looking at Dr.Stockmann at that point we can see the exact opposite image of Peter. After all, any idea that comes into Dr.Stockmann’s mind he would do it without thinking of the issue over and over again. In contrast, Peter Stockmann will think of it over and over again as it is shown in the play because Peter knows since the beginning that the end of a person who stands against the flow will be a disaster. Hence, he prefers to go with the flow rather than going in the opposite direction.
As the play goes on, the characters start clearing up what they intend to do and know what they want. The way of thinking throughout the play is changing, this happens when the solid majority is behind Dr.Stockmann’s back, and in an instance, they have changed their minds to what the rest of the town people believe in. Dr.Stockmann asks Hovstad and Aslaksen why they turned their backs to him when he needed their help and support. Going back to the beginning of the play, Hovstad tells Dr.Stockmann that he is rebellious and is asking for revenge and wants to print Dr.Stockmann’s report because he is telling Dr.Stockmann that they live in wealth and power while the poor people suffer.
Dr.Stockmann said no because he wanted to wait and see what his brother Peter Stockmann the mayor, would say about this issue; here Dr.Stockmann is cautious and takes every step at a time. Dr.Stockmann’s way of thinking changes while he is talking to Hovstad because from the conversation between the two brothers, Dr.Stockmann is telling Peter that he will do anything it takes him to show the truth to the people of his town. Towards the end, the radical person Hovstad who is used to be with Dr.Stockmann and support him in everything he believes in and support his principles, is no longer radical nor rebellious. Still, on the other hand, he is with the majority because he changed his mind at the very end of the play.
Aslaksen tries to convince Dr.Stockmann that what he did was according to the circumstances and the pressure on him by Peter Stockmann because he is thinking of making the people pay more taxes to fix the Springs and Aslaksen responds by saying that they have done that because they do not want to lose their reputation, and this will cause the people of the town to hate their newspaper. No one longer will buy it anymore. From Aslaksen’s point of view, he sees that what he has done is correct because if Dr.Stockmann had the money support which presents power at this stage, The Daily Messenger would stand with him.
This shows that throughout the play, characters other than Dr.Stockmann made changes in the way they think by standing with the majority and believe in what they believe because it is easier for them to go with the majority and what they think rather than going in the opposite direction, because they know the consequences and what will happen to the person who is against the majority, and Dr.Stockmann is a kind of character which stands for what it believes and its principles, which means that he is the only one who is going to face the majority because in his point of view he thinks that the truth told to the public will overcome the power of the government presented by Peter.
Arthur Miller shows the reader that what is happening in the play is happening in real life, and by that, he is showing the issue about people going against the flow, against the authority, which represents clearly the theme of the play individual Vs. the society and what are the consequences of believing in your principles and not changing your mind to what the majority thinks of. I think that subordinating yourself is easier than standing up for what you believe because if you go against the flow you have to face the consequences and stand for what you believe in. while if you go with the flow and you change your thoughts to what the majority thinks of this will cause no harm to the individual because as we know the majority rules not the opposite.