Wealth opens in Athens with the entry of the blind and ragged old man. Close behind him come a master and a slave and it is the slave who speaks first revealing the situation to the audience. His master Chremylus has been to consult the oracle at Delphi and has been following this old man ever since. Carion, the slave, wants to know why and Chremylus at last tells him. When he had asked Apollo whether he should encourage his son to become a criminal, as criminals are the only ones who seem to make any money in this life, the god had told him to invite into his home the first person he encountered outside. Chremylus now accosts the old man whose initial surliness gives way to the admission that he is himself Wealth. He is in this sad state as a punishment on mankind from Zeus who has blinded him to prevent his seeing on whom he bestows his favors. If he could see again he would return to the deserving. Chremylus and Carion offer to find a cure. Wealth is at first reluctant until they show him that his power is really superior to that of Zeus himself. He is persuaded and Chremylus, confident in the oracle, takes him inside to lodge with him. A chorus of elderly farmers enter with Carion. Carion teases the farmers before revealing what has happened and promising them that they too will be rich. Chremylus returns to tell his friend Blepsidemus of his good fortune. Blepsidemus assumes that Chremylus has been up to no good, but Chremylus tells him that he intends taking Wealth to the temple of Asclepius for a cure. They are about to make preparations when the daunting figure of Poverty enters, threatening to destroy them for their presumption. Getting over his initial terror Chremylus determines to fight back and banish her from Greece. Poverty defends herself claiming to be the source of most that is good in the world. Chremylus engages her in debate, pointing to the anomalies as a result of which only villains seems to prosper. Poverty?s argument in response is based on the need to provide incentive for work. If everybody were wealthy nobody would be bothered to make the goods or provide the services. She also claims that the state of poverty is by no means the same as destination and is the only state which encourages thrifty and healthy living. Her argument is much better marshalled than that of Chremylus, but he finally dismisses her with a series of threats and prepares Wealth for his cure. After a choral interlude, recorded in the script only by a stage direction, Carion returns with news of success. Wealth can now see again and Carion explains to Chremylus' wife what happened at the shrine, the ritual being somewhat devalued by Carion's irreverent approach. The god had no time for a politician, who was seeking similar treatment, but has fully restored the sight of Wealth, to the delight of all honest folk and the dismay of all those who currently have money. Wealth returns triumphant, Chremylus soon after, escaping with difficulty from well-wishers. In no time at all his house is full of corn, wine, oil, silver, and gold. A Just Man enters and tells Carion of his newfound prosperity. An Informer complains bitterly of his loss, receiving little consolation, and Carion forces him to swap his fine clothes with the Just Man. Now Chremylus copes with an Old Woman and a lost lover who no longer needs her money. Chremylus is hardly sympathetic, the Young Man himself less so, but they are invited indoors anyway to meet Wealth. Hermes turns up, demanding to see Chremylus. Zeus is incensed because no one is sacrificing to the gods any more. Carion asks why they should when the gods do so little for them. Hermes is starving and begs for a job in one or other of his numerous capacities, none of which Carion now needs. Finally he sends him off to work in the kitchen. In the last scene Chremylus returns to cope with a hungry priest and proposes that they install Wealth in Athena's temple to guard the treasury. The play ends with a procession out of the theatre.
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