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The Personification of Oil and Religion: Daniel Versus Eli in ‘There Will Be Blood’

?The central conflict in There Will Be Blood (2007) is discovered in the connection between the two primary characters, Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). Daniel’s plain-speaking oilman customs and Eli’s archaic spiritual beliefs represent the all round struggle among oil and religion. Paul Thomas Anderson depicts oil as the aspect that draws the line between Daniel and Eli and in the end causes them to develop a deep-rooted hatred for every other. They every represent a side of the juxtaposition: Daniel as oil and Eli as religion. This juxtaposition of oil and religion builds tension and drama by highlighting the parallels between the two major people and alluding to religious events and narratives identified in the Bible.

Daniel and Eli’s characters are perceived as “shadow selves” of a single an additional. They are overcompensating for their spiritual emptiness by producing their fair share of empty promises to the individuals, each and every other, and themselves. In the starting of the film, Daniel agrees to give money to the church in addition to the money he was already providing to the Sunday family members for their land. Eli continually pesters Daniel for the income that he owes the church, however, each time that Eli asks for the income, Daniel finds an excuse not to give it to him. Eli’s continuous nagging on Daniel contributes to the buildup of Daniel’s outburst of anger in the final scene. In addition to failing to pay the money he promised to the church, Daniel also breaks his guarantee to let Eli to bless the properly. By blessing the effectively himself rather than permitting Eli to give the blessing he prepared, “Plainview has demonstrated that he knows the true supply of power in Little Boston, and that any religiosity to be drawn from the well will be beneath his authority, not Eli’s” (Murray). Daniel wants the good results of the well to be linked to his name rather than to Eli’s religion.

Eli produced his share of empty promises, but his were predominantly geared towards his congregation and himself. He strived to seem to be a holy figure but barely lived up to the title. He was hypocritical in his remedy of Daniel and misused the sacrament of baptism. In the final scene, he admits to lusting soon after females and embezzling the funds of the church. Eli appears to be conscious of these similarities between himself and Daniel. As we see in the last scene Eli’s final words are, “We’re family! We’re brothers! We’re brothers! Daniel please forgive me, I beg you—”. Eli was referring to the fact that him and Daniel had been made brothers by the marriage of H.W. (Dillon Freasier) and Mary Sunday (Colleen Foy) but, whether or not Eli realized it or not, he was also alluding to the reality that their similarities in character should have been the issue that brought them closer together instead of making a divide among them.

In addition to using Eli and Daniel as “shadow selves” of every single other, the film includes different imagery and allusions to signify the struggle between oil and religion. In the scene following the blessing of the effectively, Eli confronts Daniel about his debt to the Church of the Third Revelation and Daniel responds by harassing Eli with rude remarks and physical blows. He pushes Eli into the oil puddle, shoves oil on his face, and then proceeds to mock his credibility as a pastor. This is a foreshadowing for the actual baptism of Daniel in which Eli requires the opportunity to openly mock and physically hit Daniel in front of his congregation. They use the baptisms to bring shame and humiliation to the other in hopes that it would draw the interest away from their own inadequacies.

There Will Be Blood is an oilman’s story integrated with Biblical allusions that develop the basis for the struggle among oil and religion. The phrase “bastard from a basket” that Daniel coins to describe H.W. could be interpreted as a Biblical allusion to the story of Moses. The similarities begin with the truth that H.W. goes to his father asking for freedom from the family members company in the identical way that Moses goes to the Pharaoh asking for freedom from captivity in Egypt. Each males were rescued from a basket and fought for freedom from oppression. H.W. wished to be free of charge from his father so that he could begin his own firm the Hebrews wished to be cost-free from Egypt so that they could develop their personal nation.

?The usage of Biblical names for the two major characters allowed religion to be integrated into every aspect of the film alongside the ever-present theme of oil. Just like Eli in the Bible, Eli Sunday was a high priest in his time. Nonetheless, the Eli in the film is corrupt and fails to meet the requirements of the Biblical Eli. His final name “Sunday” could be an allusion to the Sabbath day. The Sabbath is a holy day and is meant to be kept holy, however, Eli does not seem to respect this aspect in the church. He abuses his position in the church and requires advantage of the congregation for its income. The name “Daniel” means “God is my judge”. This is significant since Daniel Plainview is beneath judgement from virtually absolutely everyone else in the film since of the methods in which he goes about making his wealth. He receives judgement for becoming an oilman and critiques on how to raise his son, run his company, and live his life.

?The film’s juxtaposition of oil and religion is demonstrated by means of the relationship of Daniel and Eli and is additional expressed by means of Biblical allusions. By making use of characters to represent every single of the aspects of oil and religion Paul Thomas Anderson was in a position to generate a film that connected to a present struggle in society. Daniel and Eli bring the controversial topics to life via representing the essence of oil and religion.

Works Cited

Murray, Terri. “There Will Be Blood.” Philosophy Now: a Magazine of Ideas, philosophynow.org/troubles/74/There_Will_Be_Blood.

Anderson, Paul T, Daniel Lupi, Joanne Sellar, Jonny Greenwood, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O’Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Sherman B. Del, Paul F. Tompkins, and Upton Sinclair. There Will Be Blood. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Residence Entertainment, 2007.
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