Analysis of Enemy of the People and Nineteen Eighty Four Essay
In any society, forces of change deploy incredible efforts to do what is right amid the criticisms and resistance to the change emanating from the preservative forces of governance. Critics of immoral acts such as corruptions in societies are normally lonely. They feel neglected by the people who engage in mal-practices.
Doing the right thing makes the society collectively stronger. Enemy of the People and Nineteen Eighty Four strategically develop this idea. For instance, towards the epilogue of the play An Enemy of the People, Dr. Tom Stockman maintains, “We are all alone…And there’ll be a long night before its day…But remember now, everybody.
You are fighting for the truth, and that is why you are alone…And that makes you strong…We’re the strongest people in the world …and the strong must learn to be lonely” (Ibsen, 1999, p.78). In this statement, Dr. Tom Stockman makes it clear that, even though advocating for truth or morals is a long hassle, finally the truth would set the society free.
The paper uses this assertion together with Dr. Tom Stockman’s closing remarks as the analytical principles. Specifically, it compares and contrasts An Enemy of the People and Nineteen Eighty-Four focusing on how they develop the notion brought by Stockman that those fighting for a change in the society must arm themselves with strength as they face the inevitable resistance from those against the change.
Enemy of the People
Dr. Tom Stockman comes up with an incredible idea that he truly believes will alter the town in which the context of the play is based. He fights for bath changes despite the enormous challenge he faces since the whole town is against him: he is alone in the fight.
Following this resistance, his scientific experiments are widely perceived as wastage of time. In fact, this qualifies the quote by Dr. Tom Stockman when he says, “Remember that you are fighting for the truth, and that is why you are alone” (Ibsen, 1999, p.39) following the opposition he faces from all facets.
However, he stands for the truth, which cannot be upheld by the majority of the people. He is left alone in the struggle. Dr. Tom Stockman is precisely sure that failure to embrace his ideas would truncate into making the town people experience sufferings (Ibsen, 1999, p.39).
On his part, he feels that his self-respect and the freedom he possesses to express himself are negatively impaired. In this context, Dr. Tom Stockman develops the idea that introducing change is critically difficult since the person bringing about the change has to experience instances in which he or she feels lonely since many people are opposed to his ideas of change.
This affirms Dr. Tom Stockman quote that, “You are fighting for the truth…you have to be strong” (Ibsen, 1999, p.78). Therefore, the people could not have just embraced his idea of change since it was the truth, which has to face resistance from the society. However, he garners strength to continue advocating for social integrity through his revelation of the harms that corruption among the town people has on the economic wellbeing of the society.
In his quote, Dr. Stock man said that those who fight for the truth must be strong since the truth makes them strong. It is therefore more of a duty than a trial to stand by the truth. The revelation, as encouraged by Stockman, persuades every person whose fight for a positive change in the society faces discouragement from others. Ibsen develops the theme of social change and the ways of inculcating it in the minds of the town people by presenting democracy in two folds.
In the first place, democracy is presented as tyranny of the majority. Arguably, the force of the majority is essentially a tyrant insofar. In this context, the author sheds light that leaders of people shun from doing what is right and morally acceptable since they must make the people they lead happy (Ibsen, 1999, p.45). Consequently, people aiming to bring change by putting in place mechanisms of making people to do what is right face incredible loneliness because people will hardly accept them.
This argument is in line with what Stockman was advocating for when he encouraged such people to be strong in their efforts to nurture the truth. These people must therefore be prepared to be lonely for the sake of the truth. Hovard evidences a good example of the barrier of doing the right things due to influences and the need to fulfill the desires of the people even if they are wrong.
He does not print a doctor’s report and bath’s report in the fear of upsetting subscribers. On the other hand, Mayor is not willing to make proposals for altering baths in the fear that people may notice some mistakes made in the original plan (Ibsen, 1999, p.49). Majority of the people have an immense fear to take up risks, which according to the doctor, “is not intelligent enough to do what is right” (Ibsen, 1999, p.52).
As evidenced by the words of Dr. Tom Stockman in the quote that those that are willing to fight for change must be able to sacrifice their plight besides being strong and lonely. He says that those who are fearful cannot wage a good fight against the atrocities of the world. Fear of loneliness conforms to the status quo of a character regardless of whether it is right or wrong.
Additionally, Ibsen gives the picture of the manner in which leaders are capable of manipulating masses to fulfill their self-centered interests. For instance, the Mayor and Asaksen control all the meetings. They manage to convince the masses to support the comments of the doctor pertaining to masses’ stupidity (Ibsen, 1999, p.63). Arguably, instead of doing what is right and or allowing the majority to rule directly, threats and ideas of the majority prevent leaders from thinking and acting honestly.
What such leaders fear is being alone. A leader who can bring change to the society must be able to stand for the truth regardless of whether the majority approves it or not. They must be strong even when they are alone in the fight. In the play, a call is made for leaders to consider embracing what is right besides acting in an ideal way so that the truth, and what is right could make the society stronger rather than disintegrating it.
Nineteen Eighty Four
Written by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four can be described as dystopian novel describing the state of the modern society. Unlike the society described in Enemy of the People whose leaders only do what pleases the masses, unfair minded persons living in a totalitarian state characterize the society described in the Nineteen Eighty Four.
Although the author does not directly propose the right ways for proper leading of a society, it is evident that he criticizes the society in which his novel is based when he presents it as being empty, over-politicized, and highly drab (Orwell, 2003, p.21). The entire novel revolves around the story of Winton Smith who works with the ministry of truth.
Through this character, Orwell is able to criticize the authoritarian society besides setting paradigms for determining what is right and what is wrong in leadership. The party to which Smith belongs controls everything in the state. Smith alters the state’s historical record to make sure that the name of the big brother and that of the government are portrayed in a manner that is pleasing (Orwell, 2003, p.59).
In fact, the main concern of Smith is how the status quo would be maintained. This contravenes the need for leadership as an instrument of change. Dr Stockman says that the leaders should not fear being compromised by the majority. Anyone who wants to embrace change should be ready to suffer loneliness for the sake of the truth.
This argument is depicted in the quote, “We are all alone…We’re the strongest people in the world …and the strong must learn to be lonely” (Ibsen, 1999, p.78). To do this, he is suspicious of persons who are faithful to the ruling party that they might be members of opposition parties. For instance, Winton suspects that O’Brien could be a member of fellowship, a party he thinks would act to violate the egocentric quest for his party to remain in power (Orwell, 2003, p.65).
Arguably, Winton and his party are presented as forces, which are resistant to change aimed at depriving everybody of the freedom of choice including the freedom to choose one’s political stands. To Winton, being a member of goodwill while serving in the government is a big threat to the political party, as well as the government he diligently serves. This means that he is reluctant to embrace other people’s opinions to evaluate whether they are significant in influencing and bettering the livelihoods of the masses.
In fact, this argument concurs with the words in the quote by Dr. Tom Stockman that the courageous and positive result-oriented must be alone (Ibsen, 1999, p.78). Similar to the Enemy of the People, in the Nineteen Eighty Four, people who are determined to bring about change in the manner of governance of the societies would face an immense challenge in the process of attempting to alter the perception of people like Winton who are ideally egocentric.
While advocating for a society of equality, it is significant to note that the process would assume many risks and social struggles. According to the revelation by Dr. Tom Stockman, every change must take time before the people accept and or embrace it thus concurring with Stockman’s words, “…and there will be a long night before its day” (Ibsen, 1999, p.78).
Those who are ready to champion change must be patient. However, it is only persons who are committed to change besides being willing to take up the risk would make the society described in Nineteen Eighty Four better by making it embrace diverse opinions of different stakeholders as tools and channels of creating a more equitable society. They must accept loneness.
The leadership depicted in the Nineteen Eighty Four does not welcome criticisms. This claim is why O’Brien, although a faithful member of goodwill, disguises himself as a true follower of the ruling party in an attempt to spy the government. Any criticism is treated as an attempt to disobey the government, something that prompts punishment.
Indeed, when Winston is arrested at the bookshop by secret police, he is taken to the ministry of love “to re-indoctrinate him through torture” (Orwell, 2003, p.32). While this is an acceptable, such an act violates human rights. In fact, Stockman referred to this suffering when he raised the issue of a long night to symbolize the pain, suffering, and the confusion that characterizes the barrier between truth and deception. Such inflictions of pain are used to mask the truth from the sight of the majority.
They therefore accept things at the face value. Unfortunately, it is not critiqued by anybody since people must comply with the state’s demands. The law enforcing agents continued even to intimidate him through infliction of fear. In particular, Winton was “taken to room 101, a place where one’s worst fears are used against him” (Orwell, 2003, p.37). This prompted Winton to change immensely.
He was not strong enough to fight for the truth. He was no one of the strongest people that fights for the truth. He did not wait for the day. The long hours of the night overcame him thus concurring with Stockman’s words. Precisely, towards the end of the novel, he is “a valid member of the society” (Orwell, 2003, p.89).
This implies that he does not oppose or resist the oppression exercised by the government on the citizens. In this extent, it is apparent that Orwell manages to portray what is right and not right within a society through the long struggles of Winton to align his thoughts with the anticipations of the totalitarian government that he serves. However, by doing this, Winton commits a big mistake since subscribing to the prescribed codes of conduct, which are oppressive, amounts to the violation of rights of the masses.
Although the settings of Enemy of the People and Nineteen Eighty Four are different, the authors of these literary works have one noble concern: to address the right way in which the society needs to operate so that all people get an opportunity to exercise their rights without coercion.
In Nineteen Eighty Four and Enemy of the People, the existing forms of leadership and administration do not permit people to make their own decisions. Oppression and instilling of a compliance culture are the order of the day. For the sake of bringing about change in such societies, it is crucial for advocates of change to step in to challenge such regimes. However, the desire of people in the governance, whether in a state or hospital, is to maintain the status quo.
Therefore, advocates of change would essentially face immense opposition hence making them lonely. However, after this struggle, change is acquired. Consequently, people would contemplate and adopt new paradigms for fighting for their rights. In the end, the hard times faced by the advocates of change would be fruitful. Hence, the realization of their dream would end up making them stronger amid the loneliness in the fighting process.
Ibsen, H. (1999). Enemy of the People. New York, NY: Dover Publications.
Orwell, G. (2003). Nineteen Eighty Four. New York, NY: Plume.
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