Therefore, An Enemy of the People tells the story of a man who dares to speak an unpalatable truth, and is punished for it.
Author: Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People (original Norwegian title: En folkefiende) is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his previous play, Ghosts, which challenged the hypocrisy of 19th-century morality. According to Ellen Mortensen (Ibsen Studies v.7, 169), the words "scandalous, degenerate," and "immoral" were hurled at both Ghosts and its author because it openly discussed adultery and syphilis. Therefore, An Enemy of the People tells the story of a man who dares to speak an unpalatable truth, and is punished for it. However, Ibsen took a somewhat skeptical view of his protagonist, suggesting that he may have gone too far in his zeal to tell the truth. Ibsen wrote to his publisher: "I am still uncertain as to whether I should call [An Enemy of the People] a comedy or a straight drama. It may [have] many traits of comedy, but it also is based on a serious idea."