Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


Margaret Case, Ph.D.


Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (USA, 2007), a loose retelling of Upton Sinclair’s Oil! (1927), explores the trials and tribulations of early 20th century oil tycoon Daniel Plainview. While Daniel’s powerful pronouncement "I’m finished!" in the closing scene of the film may present itself as little more than his declaration of victory over his chief competitor, a close analysis of Daniel’s character reveals this statement as the pinnacle of his unconscious submission to the ideology of capitalism, which ultimately destroys his personal relationships and leaves him with nothing other than his painfully acquired wealth—a seemingly useless accomplishment by the film’s end. This focus on Daniel provides new insight into the commonly critiqued and tense relationship between capitalism and religion present in this film.