An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen
An Enemy of the People Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used R. Farquharson Sharp's translation.
Hovstad: "it is the wealthy folk, the old families in the town, that have got us entirely in their hands." (2.83)
Hovstad is from a poor background. He's developed over the years a real dislike for the upper class. Hovstad sees the Doctor's discovery as a chance to attack the wealthy men who rule the town.
Aslaksen: "The Baths promise to be a regular gold-mine for the town. […] That is why we will back up the project as strongly as possible." (2.127)
Here Aslaksen states very bluntly that money is the reason he wishes to back the Doctor's proposal. Currently, he thinks that cleaning up the water will help protect the investment that the town has made. When he learns it'll end up crippling the town's economy he quickly withdraws his support. Aslaksen is completely unashamed of his belief that money makes his world go round.
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "We should probably have to abandon the whole thing [the Baths], which has cost us so much money-and then you would have ruined your native town." (2.210)
The Mayor refuses to support his bother's suggestions for cleaning up the Baths because it will cripple the town's economy. The fact that town and its visitors' health will suffer is secondary to the fact the town will suffer financially. The circumstances of the play highlight how money is often the key motivation in society.