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
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
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