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.
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "Think how extraordinarily the place has developed within the last year or two! Money has been flowing in […]"
Hovstad: "And unemployment is diminishing."
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "Yes, that is another thing. The burden on the poor rates has been lightened, to the great relief of the propertied classes;" (1.34-35)
Mayor Stockmann and Hovstad discuss how the money from the Baths is helping every level of society. The previously unemployed now have jobs. This makes rich people's taxes lower, because they don't have to pay as much to support the lower classes. It's important to understand how financially beneficial the Baths are to every single person in the town. It makes it pretty understandable why, later on in the play, everybody turns against Doctor Stockmann.
Dr. Stockmann: "And then to be comfortably off, Peter! That is something one learns to value, when one has been on the brink of starvation, as we have." (1.78)
Dr. Stockmann is incredibly pleased with the fact that he now has enough money to live comfortably. When he was a poor country doctor in the north of Norway, his family made barely enough to scrape by. This makes his sacrifice of his job in the name of truth all the more meaningful.
Dr. Stockmann: "At all events I assure you I don't waste money unprofitably. But I can't find it in my heart to deny myself the pleasure of entertaining my friends." (1.92)
The Doctor does show himself to be a bit materialistic, by celebrating his amazing new lampshade and tablecloth, but the statement above highlights the fact that, ultimately, he likes to spend his money on friends. Because he was isolated for so long up north, he truly values company. It is quite ironic that such a man of the people is betrayed by them.