The Discovery Of Oil By Daniel Plainview Essay

The Discovery Of Oil By Daniel Plainview Essay

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Oil is Thicker than Blood

In the film There Will Be Blood, the discovery of oil transforms Daniel Plainview’s life. By drilling holes into the earth and extracting fossil fuels, oil is no longer a part of nature, but a commodity that is intended to create profit. Karl Marx argues that commodities become more powerful than people themselves in a commodity based society and says that material relations take the place of social relations. Relationships between people begin to be treated like relationships between objects. Plainview treats people like objects; coming from a Social Darwinist perspective, this unjust behavior leads to his success and ability to thrive. The film critiques Social Darwinism because the fittest person, which is Daniel, does not thrive in the social aspects of his life. As a result of Daniel Plainview’s ambition and societal forces, the material relations society holds unintentionally destroy his social relationship with his son because Daniel is never able to satisfy his endless desire to make more profit off of oil.
Plainview is driven by the commodity-based society, thus he loses a part of his humanity because of the greed he develops by profiting off of oil. In order to understand Daniel’s decline of kindness, one must take into account how he got to where he is; at the throne of an oil trade market. Daniel Plainview deceives those from whom he buys land from by schematically planning the deception he uses to acquire profit for less money. Hence, when he offers the Sundays extremely less than what the actual worth of the land is, he has already premeditated the whole situation and knows that he will turn a large profit. Daniel knows that the Sundays are a humble family who are not used to being offere...

... middle of paper ...

...oil creates for him.
Oil is presented as a commodity in the film There Will Be Blood which forces Daniel Plainview to prioritize the material relations that are driven by profit. Daniel Plainview is unknowingly the head of his own commodity based society where he the sole benefactor of many people’s hard work and sacrifices. Daniel develops a fetish for oil and he centers his thoughts and actions around it. In a competitive environment where only the most ruthless of men survive, Daniel invests the majority of his time into the oil business. Daniel cannot disregard his material relations with the commodity of oil because his business and his wealth will decline. When he realizes the level of the devastation his material relations causes his social relation with his son, it is too late. Daniel chooses to hold on to his profit rather than his relationship with his son.

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