Industrialization changed the traditional family structure and created a large gap in between generations. H.W already living in this world without a mother traveled with his dad to the oil mines. Sucked in by the prosperity of Industrialization, H.W’s dad, a widower, needed to create a greater life for his son immersed himself into the wealth that came along with Oil Mining. Next to the “Oil Man” was the place to be. Already a Boy with an incomplete housing structure his father was killed working for Plainview. Industrialization left already poor families incomplete and the non-working class at home having to go out to work instead of staying home and taking care of the family. Women were left to get dangerous jobs with long hours in factories or as seamstresses.
One of the first notions of interest becomes H.W, Plainview’s “son”. Where ever Plainview is his shadow is seen in HW. Everyman he encounters ask about him and Plainview proudly states it is his business partner and son. The same thoughts of all those who questions him could not fathom that H. W was not even his son at all which could never be seen in their close bond. Being an Orphan out in the dangerous Oil mines, H.W is very luckily that Daniel takes him under his wing. Especially Daniel being the man that he is . We see the conflicting images of Plainview’s character all throughout the film. The “Oil Man” on the outside a hard exterior of steel, stained with oil. As the film goes on, we peel back the layers of Plainview, we can see greed, selfishness and downright maliciousness at times. But at his heart, gold.
H.W treated as Plainview biological son was treated and held at the same esteem that Plainview was. He could have been put to work but he was a boss, always foreseeing everything on the mines and that is when he had is tragic accident. The great blast of oil thew H. W back causing him to go deaf. Although Plainview sends H.W away when he realized he could not deal with him in that moment, it was for the greater good. He cared enough to know that he did not hold the patience at that moment to deal with H.W. I feel although he was overwhelmed with grief he had to send him away. It is not until later when he is being baptized that he realizes that he needs the boy. It was not his natural born son anyway but he did hold that place and Plainview never got the chance to feel anything as grandiose only being the “Oil man” that he is. Industrialization breaking down the family structure provided for new found families out in the oil fields.
Industrialization era and its effects in society were on its meteoric rise. Everywhere, opportunities arise, and people took advantage of it in order to find success. Trying to live the American Dream isn’t the problem, it’s the drive and reason that corrupts the people and society.
In the film, Daniel Plainview is introduced as an oilman. A true oilman who had an earnest, almost pure, intentions with finding success and having a better life than before. Though, that’s when he downward spiral started to happen.. Although he truly is living the Dream, what is his purpose? He has made enemies, turned away any support, even turning away from his adopted son, whom he raised his entire life. Industrialization was a time of progress and success. But for what cost? Your own humanity?
Religion played a pivotal role in this film. Just from the characters’ names, Eli, Daniel, Mary etc. are just some of the names that they used in the film. In the end scene, religion was used in the final conflict between Daniel and Eli, Industrialization and Religion. Here we see Eli’s compromise for Daniel, calling himself a false prophet, giving up his priesthood, all for the sake of money. And Daniel on the other hand, ironically uses Religion as his driving force, claiming to be The Chosen One, clearly displayed by his materialistic success in his life.
The last line, “I Am Finished.” Daniel declares, his final descent. Almost acknowledging himself for what he has done and has given up for his success, he just sits there silently, and bows his head.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:36
Their are many instances in which Daniel Plainview has portrayed his dishonest persona. Trough his greed and desire for oil came many consequences which lead to his demise and “Judgment by God”. His first name “Daniel” means “judgment by God” and “God is my judge.” As Daniel seeks salvation in this scene, his altruistic quality is delineated. When the water is poured on him during the baptize, he mutters “there’s the pipeline”. As Daniel gets up he reestablishing his power as he moves out from under the cross which symbolizes his betrayal of this act of baptism. He then shakes Eli’s hand and says something to him which is probably a threat. He moves to Eli, now taller than him for the first time, and shakes his hand. We can’t hear what he is saying to Eli, but we can easily tell that it’s probably somewhere along the lines of a threat, which he does to Eli often.
Industrialism had affected Daniel Plainview by a transition towards evil. It started from the first oil leak that he found, as he came out of the hole he symbolized a darkness closely associated to the devil. Daniel has also lost son’s hearing. Daniel had wanted H.W to be just like him and in this moment that all changed. That seemed cause a major change in Daniel, as his facade of a nice guy seemed to vanish. He became violent and lost his false gentlemen like persona in a way making him less professional as well.
Industrialization is depicted as a commodity which seems good and positive but has a lot of consequences as well. It could be compared to selling ones soul to the devil. One will have the advantages of building a company and having riches, but at the end, just like Plainview, become greedy, selfish, and all alone. Through the industrialization of pipelines workers died and accidents occurred. Oil seems to represent the blood of the people effected by it, even the people who had to give up their land.
Nietzsche has recently declared God dead, people are selling out their families for money and hypocrisy is at an all time high. What happened to the American dream? Industrialization was supposed to bring about prosperity and better lives for everybody but only the people who had luck and timing on their side woke up from the nightmare. ‘There Will Be Blood’ depicts the negative effect industrialization had on people who weren’t clever enough not to be swindled, using Eli Sunday as a vessel to get that message across. Though Eli’s religious practices are far from conventional, he manages to gather a sizable congregation at the Church of the Third Revelation, most of whom believe in his dramatic antics. He is a pastor, yet dire financial straits coerce him to denounce his faith in God for money. It’s ironic that the character he asks for help is the ‘sinner’ himself, the one who symbolizes Satan in this film. This particular aspect of the film truly highlights how powerful industrialization was at convincing people to go back on their word, betray their kin and to forget the fundamental values of human decency. ‘There Will Be Blood’ emphasizes the influence of greed and how not even the people chosen to guide others onto the right path are immune to it.
From the moment we first encounter H.W Plainview, there is oil.
H.W is brought down to the edge of a lake of oil, where his father marks his forehead with a streak of oil; as if to signify how important this commodity would become in H.W’s lifetime. H.W is essentially born into oil, both he and it are products of the same generation. Being adopted by Daniel Plainview fully inducted H.W into the oil industry. Daniel showed him what oil looked like, smelled like and how to find it. H.W would sit in on all of Daniel’s business meetings and interact with Daniel’s associates. H.W becomes part of the company and Daniel recognizes this: “…very much a family enterprise.”
It is oil that begins H.W’s future and also aids in its partial ruin. Out of all the characters in this film, H.W the most poignant representation of the hardships that post-Civil War industrialization brought along with it. Aside from causing the death of his biological father, oil makes H.W deaf. Daniel abandons him shortly after to focus on the current drilling operation. The hatred built between H.W and Daniel spurs H.W to leave his adopted father’s side to strike out on his own years later, an altercation in which Daniel declares H.W to be his competition and cuts their familial ties once and for all: “…a bastard from a basket.”
Each major event in H.W’s life revolved around oil, thus resulting in physical anguish, betrayal and alienation. H.W’s situation was true for many of the people who lived during the 2nd Industrial Revolution. Greed, death and deception were the common demons hundreds of families faced. H.W Plainview is a true testament to the notion that the immense success capitalism can bring is equally met with high risks and even greater sacrifices.
Both Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday are men in pursuit of power, whether it be through selling oil or selling religion. As master manipulators they both see through the charades, Daniel doesn’t buy Eli’s holier than thou attitude. Eli knows Daniel doesn’t care about helping the people, and he is perfectly fine with that, as long as he gets a cut of the action. Daniel knows Eli is thirsty for power and uses it to his advantage. When Eli approaches Daniel to collect, he is called out by Daniel “aren’t you a healer, a vessel for the holy spirit?, when are you coming over to make my son hear again? can’t you do that?”. Industrialization is a way to fund Eli’s expanding congregation, a means to an end, the end being power. During the drilling Eli and Daniel are adversaries but the money is able to keep them cooperative. Eli gains the upper hand when he forces Daniel to confess where he is able to gain a position of power by appearing spiritually superior in front of the congregation. Daniel is willing to go through with it, justifying it with profits. The dynamic of power is reversed 30 years later when Eli comes back to beg for money. Daniel gives Eli the choice of admitting his phoniness “I am a false prophet and god is a superstition” in exchange for a land deal. He can’t help but add another fee to the deal, $5000 and even some interest. Daniel makes Eli admit he’s a phony, motivated only by his pride and the pursuit of power.False Prophet
Eli Sunday son of Abel Sunday was not so different from any of Daniel Plainview’s competitors. He had similar aspirations, seeking a way to stamp his authority on the country and make a better living out of the new oil land. Eli approached the matter a little differently. Paul Thomas Anderson parallels capitalism and religion in the hearts of modern Americans; salvation either in God or in the Dollar. The underlying theme of the film becomes a battle between Daniel pitting Eli for the town, but Daniel didn’t solely despise Eli because he purported to the afterlife and spirits. Daniel found the idea stupid but as people got swept up into Eli’s show Daniel quickly realized it as a valid being. It wouldn’t have mattered if it were religion or prospectors, Daniel would have seen them as a threat and challenge, and he would have set out to defeat them.
The thing that was especially troublesome for Daniel was that he couldn’t just get rid of this young preacher. Eli was physically weak and inexperienced but had the strength of numbers through his church folk, an advantage that wouldn’t allow Daniel to take him out. The greatest moment for Eli was the Baptism of Daniel. It was his chance to humiliate Daniel and take revenge by putting on exaggerated theatrics that it almost becomes comedic. The emotion drawn from Daniel was shame, repentance and anger. Daniel only did it to get the pipeline but wasn’t going to forget what Eli had done to him, unaware he would get his revenge thirty years later.
Abel Sunday owns a fairly large plot of land in Little Boston, Massachusetts. When Daniel Plainview is approached by Abel’s son, Paul Sunday, about the possibility of purchasing the land, he makes two things very clear. Firstly, he makes it clear that there is in fact an abundance of oil on the lot. Secondly, he makes it clear that there is virtually nothing else. The land is incapable of growing anything but weeds, and is used as nothing more than an animal farm. Vast stretches of land on the property go unused, due to the destitute nature of it’s soil. Other than the potential for quail hunting, the property has little to give it value. However, due to rampant industrialization, the oil which was previously virtually worthless, has now become a black gold mine. Over the course of a few short decades, Abel Sunday’s patch of land went from being nearly worthless, to incredibly valuable. Abel catches a fairly hefty sum from Daniel Plainview, and his life is surely better for it.
The movie “There Will Be Blood” is all about industrialization. More specifically about the oil business and how a certain individual’s life is consumed by this and industrialization as a whole. There is great money in oil plantations and people will go to no end to get what they want. Daniel Plainview is the “oilman” in this film and he is the example of what happened to some people during the times of industrialization. Daniel is a miner at the beginning that comes across finding oil and a baby that he takes in since the father had died in an accident. You find out that it wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart that he took the baby boy to only help himself succeed in the oil business. The truth comes out when his “son” H.W. goes deaf in an accident and Daniel just couldn’t deal with it and sent him away. By the end of the movie Daniel is shown as a very cruel heartless man who couldn’t care less about anyone else other than himself and making his money. This overwhelming obsession to be rich took over this mans life and it just left him with nothing but misery.
Daniel Plainview is the personification of capitalism. His stubborn obsession for profit consume and turn him into an oil-seeking devil willing to give up everything(including his adopted son) for the promise of wealth. Much like Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, Daniel is an antihero in the sense that his actions and personality lack traditional heroic values. Some may see him as the movie’s antagonist but I believe the true villain is Eli Sunday.
Daniel is forthcoming about his intentions of finding oil whilst Eli uses the cover of the Third Revelation church(religion) as a tool to manipulate the minds of the people. Eli is a “false prophet” and secretly chases after Daniel for oil money. The “milkshake scene” is the conclusion to a longstanding battle between capitalism and religion in this film. Daniel has the upper advantage in that he has gained and lost everything he truly loved (including H.W) and nothing is worth fighting for anymore. Eli, on the other hand, is a desperate snake in need of quick cash. Daniel lays out the cards flat on the table and tells Eli that capitalism and religion had nothing to do with the oil digging and it was the man who would seize the opportunity the quickest that would reap its benefits.
The milkshake mentioned in the scene that both men possess is a metaphor for the opportunity to amass wealth(in this case, the oil fields) and the straw that Daniel seems to be the sole owner of could refer to the effort one must make before he/she can gain that wealth. Eli’s milkshake did bring all the boys to the yard but it was Daniel who ended up drinking it all.