The Slippery Truth Essay

740 words - 3 pages

In Arthur Miller’s An Enemy of the People, the once respected Dr.Stockmann sacrifices his personal life in a quest to speak out against the Institution and reveal to the public the truth about the town’s contaminated springs. Likewise in the film A Civil Action, Jan Schlichtmann’s search for the truth through the justice system ruins him and his firm financially. Both the play and the film explore the surprising resistance of the public to accept “the truth”, however, the play emphasizes the familial conflict that results from the discovery far more prominently. While Jan fights an impersonal battle against big business, Dr.Stockmann is endangering his family’s safety.
Namely, Dr. ...view middle of the document...

Dr. Stockmann’s goals would cost the town thousands, which is bad enough. In A Civil Action, the future of personal injury attorney Jan’s firm absolutely depends on money. Jan’s job was to only take on lawsuits that he could easily settle for a tidy profit, so when the townspeople come to him with an incredibly expensive lawsuit and demands of justice and an apology he initially turns them away. The fact that Jan later determines the case to be a goldmine (because of its ties to multimillion company Beatrice Foods) is the only reason he decides to take it after all. It’s ironic how the case he expected to make him rich instead leaves him bankrupt and disillusioned with the justice system, “The truth? I thought we were talking about a court of law…the truth… is at the bottom of a bottomless pit”. He refuses a $20 million settlement believing that the case is about more than ‘just the money’. In the end the settlement Jan could obtain did not fulfill the townspeople’s request, that is, an apology and a solution. In his final attempt to try to expose the truth of Beatrice Food’s neglect and...

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