No one man should have all that power.

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