Wealth Americans have always been concerned with wealth and success. The core of the American Dream is to get ahead and accumulate riches. With money, one achieves status and power. Yet this wealth, this total lack of need, provokes the downfall of virtue. As Sir Francis Bacon so succinctly put it, As the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue. The baggage of an army is a hindrance and a burden. It slows the soldiers down and makes it more difficult to perform their duties. Therefore, riches would be an impediment to morality, goodness, or uprightness. With wealth, one would not want for anything. One would have everything that is desired. This way, it is much easier to forget about religion and morality. People who need money pray for the things they cannot get and do not have. Yet, what do wealthy persons need to pray for? Whatever they want, they receive. This is apparent in the writings of Chaucer. Many of his characters that are wealthy are corrupt religiously. For example, the Doctor is an important person in Chaucer s Prologue. He is wealthy because of his deals to the apothecaries, where the apothecaries and the doctor both cheat the patients out of their money. The Doctor has no need for the Bible because he is successful in his business and living his life with luxury. He does not pray for anything, since he has everything he wants. Another character that is corrupt because of their wealth is the Franklin. The Franklin lives only for pleasure and spends his money as if there is an endless supply. He is not concerned with religious actions or beliefs because he is too busy eating, drinking, and having fun.Many problems are resolved or overlooked because of ones degree of affluence. People are more likely to have vices when they are wealthier because money goes a long way to solve conflicts. A few years back, there was an article in the newspaper where a young teen had allegedly raped his girlfriend. The father of the teen possessed a great deal of money and hired him a very prominent lawyer. The teen was acquitted and went free. A couple of months later, an investigation into the proceedings found that the father bribed two of the jury members to acquit his son. This is evidence that if one has a large income, then things in life are easier to deal with. People are a great deal nicer to other people when they know they have money.
Money also brings about a sense of pride that can be very dangerous. One with money can believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them because of their money. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, shows this pride in the character of Miss Baker. In the vehicle with Nick, Jordan insisted she receive special privileges because of her wealth and celebrity status. Her comment, “They’ll keep out of my way,” implies that other drivers will stay out of her way because of her rank. She has a spoiled attitude because she thinks she owns the road due to her wealth and status. There is another example of this spoiltness and pride in John Steinbeck s The Pearl. The story is of a poverty-stricken family that has a son who needs medical attention. In the village of La Paz there lived a doctor who had earned his wealth by helping those that were ill and could afford his services. Not once in his long career would he have dared refuse to aid a wealthy lawyer or noblemen. However when Kino, the father, and the group his village friends arrived at the doctor s door with the poisoned child, he refused them entry saying “Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for `little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary.” The doctor had known that the peasants hadn’t any money. He had been to Paris and had enjoyed the splendors of the world; therefore, he wouldn’t be seen dealing with the less fortunate, as he knew that the less fortunate would surely always be just that-the less fortunate. The quote of Sir Francis concisely conveyed the disadvantage of owning large sums of money. Most people yearn and long for riches yet never think of the consequences of attaining them. Now the question is, is it worth attaining a considerable fortune when wealth can so easily trigger the downfall of morality?