Give a critical analysis of The Pot Of Gold.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This work focuses on the way that wealth may not be quite the blessing that humans assume it is. This is shown through the central symbol of the pot of gold, which Euclio rediscovers thanks to his daughter's piety. The obsession that he forms concerning this pot of gold prevents him from being able to trust other characters and to accept the generosity that they offer him. For example, when Megadorus, a wealthy man in his own right, offers to marry Euclio's daughter without a dowry, and even says he will pay for the cost of the feast and ceremony, Euclio's immediate reaction is to suspect him of wanting to gain the "pot of gold" that he is so concerned about keeping away from everybody:

When he agrees to give he wants to grab! Mouth wide open to gobble down my gold! Holds up a bit of bread in one hand and a stone in the other! I don't trust one of these rich fellows when he's so monstrous civil to a poor man. They give you a cordial handshake, and squeeze something out of you at the same time. I know all about those octopuses that touch a thing and then--stick.

The irony of this quote is of course that Euclio, for all of his attempts to describe himself as a "poor man," is actually a perfect example of the kind of greed that he himself deplores in Megadorus. The overwhelming theme of this work, therefore, is to point out the danger inherent in owning wealth and the way that it can destroy you. It is highly significant that Euclio only gains a measure of happiness once he gives the pot of gold to his daughter and new son-in-law at the end of the play. A pot of gold is shown to be more of a curse than a blessing through the impact that it has on Euclio.  

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