Enron Key Quotations



Skilling: Enron is "creating an open, transparent market place that replaces the dark, blind system that existed." Irony, compared to the appearance vs reality of Enron, deception.

Lawyer: "I could explain to you how it works but, I don't have the time and you don't have the money." ... "As a lawyer I choose my words carefully, you should know it can never be exactly what happened." Ironic as we perceive lawyers to uphold justice and be outstanding legal abiding citizens, but here, they are just as corrupt as the criminals. 

Lawyer: "When things get desperate we find ourselves 'A Great Man', look up to him and demand he change things." Very Faustian, Skilling is this great man, change the markets, be a modern man. But "within every great man is a buried risk", just like Faustus, Skilling is nothing to behold, he will eventually fall. Parallels prologue in Faustus, changes tone, introduces predestined fate.

Box within a box: deception, 'Here, in the beating heart of the economic world: America. In the heart of America: Texas. And in the heart of Texas, Houston. There was a company.'

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Scene One - Two

Skilling's opening description 'bespectacled, overweight, balding accountant.' After the prologue build up, audience wonders whether this is/the 'A Great Man'

Skilling: 'We're an energy company. You say 'gas' and 'oil' people think farts and Arabs' Like how Faustus dismisses Aristotalean 4 pillars of wisdom, Skilling dismisses things of value.

Employee (to us): Similar to a Marlovian aside. 'There's a feeling that the people who are gonna change things aren't in parliaments or palaces, but in corporate boardrooms.' Very Faustian, Skilling will change the world through his intelligence.

Roe/Skilling: 'I can't be the cause of a marriage break up - (interrupted) Skilling: 'I can't believe he's going.' Work exceeds love for Skilling. Ambition as a fatal flaw (hamartia)

Roe: 'You're Harvard, you're McKinsey' praise of Skilling, mainly to comfort him for not getting president role. Then calls him a 'Godless athiest' very Faustian, Skilling > religion.

Roe: 'she tosses the kleenex away deliberately casually and confidently strides from the office.' Immediately after it cuts to Bill Clinton on Monica Lewinsky.

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Scene Three - Four

Roe: sleeping in business, 'she tosses the kleenex away deliberately casually and confidently strides from the office.' Context, women in office, 14th on Fortune Magazine. Immediately after it cuts to Bill Clinton on Monica Lewinsky.

Lay: 'I believe in God, I believe in democracy and I believe in the company.' Repetition, language of a preacher, but he worships capitalism, business equally. Greed?

Lay: 'In our daddy's day, a man worked and he saw himself in his work' ... Skilling: 'you daddy was a baptist preacher. There;'s a dignity to giving people something they can't touch.' Appearance vs Reality, deception. Skilling wants to blind people, like religion blinds.

Lay considers the younger man and his presumption, very Faustian, ambition = hamartia.

Vaudville style of Enron / trading and screwing people over. 'Magical music ... over time, the voices all conjoin to meet at a pure single note. It is beautiful.' Contrast to reality, 'this empty, beautiful purity in Skilling's head is interrupted by the reality of the traders' arrival' Traders described as 'chaos, the physicality, the aggression.'

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Scene Four - Five

"You've drink the cool aid"; One of the traders thinks he's going to lose a lot of money, American slang for goign crazy. Attitude of Skilling 'only people prepared to lose are ever gonna win.' And he slaps me on the back and leaves. Shocking, enourages risk - Faustian.

Traders run in with Fastow: "You're gonna take it in the ***" ... "I want that recorded!" ... One shows him his penis. Bravado of traders, no care.

Product of their environment / what Skilling makes them. Trader (to us) like an aside: "There's something ... primal. Closest thing there is to hunting. Closest thing there is to sex." Darwinist kind of environment, national selection. Blinded by ambition, like Faustus.

Skilling has the company running on "Darwinian principles.", 'Darwin showed how an idea can change the world.' Natural selection, uses it for Enron. Enron doesn't care for anyone else. "Money and sex motivate people."

Start of the Above/Below distinction, below with Fastow, above is Lay's office. Lay talks about how he has a "shot at the White House" with George Bush, politics + business = corruption.

Skilling and stock price: "I'm so excited" it rises, "I'm a little sad" it drops ... "Ha! I'm Enron."

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Scene Six - Seven

Scene is called 'Time is Money' cliché for capitalists. A memory of his daughter takes place, "Skilling gets a stack of bills ... counting them ostentatiously, as a familiar game." This is very unpleasant, shows Skilling's money orientated corruption. Time with daughter = time with money. TIME IS MONEY

Skilling: 'Counting a billion dollars would take me ... thirty two years!' A little sad he knows this, repeats and reinforces previous point. Ambition of a "Marlovian overreacher" Billington.

Roe: 'You need smart people around. To disagree with you.' This is an important moral point, without people telling Skilling what is (morally) wrong, he is able to do whatever he wants no matter what the consequence - yes men like Fastow = trouble, demise. Faustus had companions telling him no, and his internal conflict.

Business Anchor - Gayle "It's astounding their ambition and creativity." Faustian, ambition = hamartia. The only thing that makes them creative is they found inventive way to screw people over, like when Faustus deduces we are all sinners anyway so we might as well sin.

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Scene Eight

Scene Eight called 'An Unholy Partnership' "below, darkly, Fastow's lair" immediately alludes to bad things happening in Fastow's office. Opens with his speech to audience about planes and cars, "when I write down everything that can possibly go wrong, as a formula. A formula I control. Nothing seems scary anymore."

Fastow: "Risk is just the fear of losing something. Risk is life basically." Dismissive, doesn't take into consideration all the consequences. When he just said after having a kid he feels anything can go wrong. Hypocritical / contradictory.

Skilling: appearance vs reality "I don't mind taking losses. But I can't report taking losses. The gap between perception and the reality is." Enron = built on a lie, no real soul. Faustian.

Fastow: analogy of a "virtual mistress." "For those occasions we need to 'offload'. We create a company purely to fulfil Enron's needs." This is where the actual illegal idea comes in which Skilling accepts. The lust of wanting to keep up the lie of Enron for more money is compared to the lust of a virtual mistress. Similar to Faustus / Helen and Mephostophilis' dismissal of marriage.

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Scene Eight - Nine

"Fastow opens the mathbox and takes out a tiny red, glowing box." Eating Enron's debt. Glows red, alludes to danger, but they are unaware of any danger with their plan "how's something this tiny ever gonna cause any trouble?" Faustian ambition and ignorance.

Law firm Ramsay and Hewitt appear as "justice with one blindfolded with sword, the other carrying the scales of jusitce." Irony/satire, as they are willing to be corrupted by Enron's plans. Blindfold shows this blindness, deception.

Skilling: 'photographer is beneath him to make him look impressive, god-like.' Faustian, Skilling believes he is more powerful than he is, religious imagery. Skilling then says that "We're agressive, we take risks, that's why we are successful." But their success is built on a lie, like Faustus', and will end in ruin

Skilling is messiah-like. More parallels with religious power, all inflated and false.

'A huge party: absurd, luxurious, delusional; the peak of bull market excess.' Appearance vs Reality, greed and excess. Money motivated, tempted by ambition, links to Faustus.

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Act Two Scene One - Five

'The tiny red box is safely put away, buried. We can see it throb.' Danger is hidden out of sight, ignorance is bliss. Throbbing = sexual allusion, Enron's virtual mistress.

Fastow says when Skilling realises the raptors are consuming debt: 'Yes! Debt is just money. All money is debt.' This is a throw a way line, dismissal of the illegalities they are committing.

Skilling: 'Doesn't matter how you win - as long as you win!' Corrupt, morality is ignored.

Daughter asks why? 8 times when Skilling imagines her presence, mocks Enron slogan.

Skilling gives a speech to employees telling them that they are paid in stock because they are 'literally investing in yourslef - it is an act of belief in yourself.' Faustian self-delusion.

When the election is getting really close and Florida recounts, Fastow says 'If there's one thing this country won't stand for, it's ambiguity' Irony as the whole of Enron is ambigious. It is not a clear strategy, they are screwing employees out of money for example. 'Skilling falls to his knees with the relief' as if losing money / election was life or death. Greed.

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Act Two Scene Six

When Skilling says to the traders they have a deregulated electricity market, he sets them free, the traders name their plans to destroy California electricity market 'Ricochet! Fat Boy! Burn Out! Death Star!' all allude to something equally unpleasant.

Reporter states 'Another day another death in California's blackouts' but the traders just say 'more fires we have, more prices go up ... Burn baby burn!' Sick and twisted, corrupted by greed. The traders value wealth over other people's lives.

Skilling convinces the traders 'We are the good guys in California. We are on the side of the angels.' This is clearly ironic, they are not the good guys, their exploits lead to death. Faustian. But when trading continues, one trader states they are like Roman Empire, ironic as this was great and fell. And another states "let's rap.e this motherf.ucker" Extemely explicit and gross.

Skilling then makes a dark joke about California and Titanic, "at least when the titanic went down the lights were on." Black humour, brovado, darwinist principles.

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Act Two Scene Seven - Eight

Skilling's is in trouble as poeple know Enron traders gave California scandals a name. After a 'beat' Skilling explains 'how the world works. If you want an objective morallity present in every contract you are living in a dream.' Shocking, we all believe in morality, but Skilling dismisses it for the sake of business, parallels the morality Faustus sacrifices when he signs his contract. Morality < business.

When the Security Officer talks to Skilling he mentions how "things have become a lot easier with the stock options." This is saddening as inevitably he will lose all this. After the Security offiver leaves, a reporter is on call. The stock price sinks. Skilling's face falls. 'Fall' alludes to Enron, Skilling's fall, when people begin to scratch at the surface of Enron, it begins to crumble.

Skilling to Fastow, you have to explain 'That we're not a black box.' Fastow, 'but we are a black box, Jeff.' Fastow knows what is happening, Skilling is ignorant, pretends his lie isn't real. He wants to sacrifice LJM for Enron, Fastow is defensive 'I created LJM' to which Skilling immediately replies 'I created you!' There is no loyalty / love,  Skilling is blinded by greed.

Fastow is concerned: 'What if they look and they see that underneath there's nothing actually there.' This is the truth and Skilling is outraged, 'then the world's nothing.'

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Act Two Scene Eight -Nine

'Fastow rallies himself to do his master's bidding.' Real power of Skiling, the lack of authority of Fastow, the bully/Darwinist nature of Skilling and his Enron model.

'Skilling climbs stairs like a man on his way to the gallows', the fall of Skilling, pathos, but it is all Skilling's fault. Danger of damnation: potential of catharsis? Probably not.

Skilling's speech to analysts trying to rally support 'people are saying.. we're a black box, we're not. That's like calling Michael Jordan a black box because you don't know what he's gonna score each quarter! We are very optimistic. Contextual link to MJ, legendary basketballer, comparing Enron's success with MJ's, as though Enron's success is not suspicious but earned. Juxtaposes optimism with danger/ambiguity.

Skilling calls an important analyst an '*******' which is described as a "tumbleweed moment", Skilling "looks over the edge of the upper level, looking for all the world like he's about to be sick or throw himself off." Slow destruction / revealing of Enron, one man can lead to the demise of a huge company, built on a lie. "A Great Man, buried risk."

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Act Two Scene Nine - Ten

After Skilling calls the analyst an *******, he struggles to come to terms with the stock price falling. He exclaims 'IT'S ME!' as if he is still in control of the market. The lie of Enron is out and when it drops he recoils with shock and when it drops further he is terrified. Catharsis?

It ends with Skilling's arms outstretched 'crucifying himself before the market.' This parallels the messiah like stage direction. Skilling has fallen from grace, this is from his hamartia. It concludes with deflated Vaudeville, satirical a sour tuneless version of the Enron barbershop quartet jingle plays. 

Scene 10 opens with Skilling's implied self-conflict, like Faustus, he has a moment of Catharsis. The stock price 'will go up when I announce. The market's decided, it wants me out.' Ironically, Skilling is an athiestm but he looks at the market religiously, like a theist.

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Act Three - Scene One - Four

Sloman (to us) bubble analogy. Compares this to the plane, belief = flight. 'Strange things go on inside a bubble', links to Skilling's epilogue monologue. Then, black humour, ironically 9/11 happens. Lay becomes surrounded by tiny pieces of shredded paper. This alludes to the Enron trying to hide the illegal. He compares America's terrorism problem to Enron's. 

Lay then states 'truth is the great rock. Whether it will continue to be submerged by a wave (of terror)' to his employees. Irony as this is deceptive, manipulates their vested interest / concern to pretend Enron is still the good guys, (on the side of the angels to quote Skilling.)

Then there is the circle of blame scene. Arthur Andersen says they are happy to provide all documents, little Arthur says 'except for all the ones we shredded'. Black humour as Andersen wrestles his dummy into acquiescence. The fall of Enron.

When asked about Fastow, Skilling says Fastow's 'blood runs Enron' and expects him to be loyal. Fastow betrays him - the Darwinist culture backfires. The Lawyer warned Skilling. Fastow has catharsis, he admits to being 'consumed by an insatiable greed.' Seems more respectable than Skilling.  Significance is that Skilling, who colluded with and created Fastow, was betrayed by Fastow. Pathos, Mephostophilis like relationship.

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'I'm not a bad man ... I just wanted to change the world (links to a Great Man in prologue - buried risk) They'll realise they were banasking soething of themselves a long with me.' This has incredible pathos and truth, while what Skilling does is wrong, he is no different to any one else. This is the human condition, shared by Faustus. 

You wanna hold a mirror up to nature?' This is powerful, this is his reality, he is no different to anyone else, his Darwinist Principles represent the Human Condition, ambition, greed.

He looks ar the Dow Jones Index: a crack along a building. 'There's your mirror. Every dip, every crash, every bubble that burst, that's you.' The bubble analogy explains how for any big venture, space exploration, saving nature, we need a bubble. When that bursts, lik the slave trade it is a risk you have to take. Would you have gotten married if you could see her face twenty yeats on turn to you through tears and say 'You never knew me at all'? Incredible pathos, this reinforces/justifies Skilling, he is no different to everyone else. Risk is life. Links to prologue.

Corrupted corinthians biblical reference. "All humanity is here. There's Greed, Fear, Joy, Faith ... Hope ... / And the greatest of these ... is Money." No Catharsis, but still pathos.

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