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Friday, April 12, 2024

5 Filthy Rich People In Fiction And Their Problems

A spotlight on the problems of 5 filthy rich people in the realm of fiction

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Murtaza Ali Khan
Murtaza Ali Khan
An award-winning Film & TV critic and journalist.

Not everyone is interested in rich people’s problems. Some may even think that the rich by definition mustn’t even have any problems to deal with in their lives, for it is poverty that’s the root cause of all the world’s problems. As true as it may sound, the fact of the matter is that everyone has his or her share of problems, whether rich or poor. As a matter of fact, as a person grows richer the nature of problems become more and more complex. But it is also true that the filthy rich are fussier than the not so rich. Their accumulated riches seem to give them an air of finickiness that often gets mistaken for arrogance.  

Whenever we think of the rich we are inevitably reminded of their extravagant lives, scandalous affairs, and the idiosyncrasies associated with them. There is no denying that discussing rich people’s problems is not everyone’s cup of tea. Beyond a point, it can get really boring. But there is something about the rich that makes them difficult to ignore. Perhaps, there is some discreet charm that’s difficult to express in words. So, today, we will put a spotlight on the problems of 5 filthy rich people in the realm of fiction.

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1. Jay Gatsby

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film ‘The Great Gatsby’

A foolhardy romantic, Jay Gatsby is as rich as they come. If Gatsby’s rags to riches story is a stuff of legends then the story of his love almost has a mythical tone to it. Here is a man so immersed in the virtue of love that he who could give Don Quixote a run for his money. Speaking of money, Gatsby has enough to own a luxurious house on Long Island and a custom designed Rolls Royce. Gatsby’s name is synonymous with the notion of the American Dream. The title character of the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel ‘The Great Gatsby’, Gatsby is also one of the most popular figures of the Jazz Age. But ultimately he is a tragic figure. His biggest problem in life is his extraordinary gift for hope. It proves to be his greatest undoing.

2. Scrooge McDuck

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Scrooge McDuck in his treasure vault
Scrooge McDuck

There are few cartoon characters more memorable than Scrooge McDuck. The character was created in 1947 by Carl Barks for The Walt Disney Company. Popularly known as Uncle Scrooge, this iconic Disney character happens to be the richest duck in the world. Scrooge has acquired his wealth through sheer hard work and business acumen. While even his last penny is dear to him, his most valuable possession is his lucky Number One Dime. Scrooge often likes to swim in his wealth, kept protected in a vault. Money brings friends but it also brings enemies. Scrooge’s enemies are always scheming to usurp his wealth or the source of his good luck and wealth, his Number One Dime: be it the witch Magica De Spell, the Beagle Boys, or the notorious industrialist Flintheart Glomgold, the second-richest duck in the world. The very idea of losing even a penny of his wealth gives Scrooge nightmares. Another major problem in Scrooge’s life is his pilot Launch Pad who has a knack for crashing airplanes. Then there are his three adventurous young grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who are a major cause of all his troubles.

3. Charles Foster Kane

Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in his 1941 film 'Citizen Kane'
Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in his 1941 film ‘Citizen Kane’

The protagonist of the American writer-actor-director Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane is so rich that he often gets compared to the great Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. A newspaper magnate, he owns a lavish estate called ‘Xanadu’. He is married to the niece of the President. But, the man’s lust for power and wealth is insatiable. His biggest problem in life is probably his megalomaniacal ego. It ultimately consumes his marriage. When he ends up falling in love with an aspiring singer his ego doesn’t let him acknowledge the reality. He is hell-bent on proving to the world that he fell in love not with a beautiful young girl but with a great artist. Kane’s close friend Jedediah Leland turns into a bitter critic. To Kane’s great dismay, Jedediah ends up printing some objectionable things about Kane’s mistress in Kane’s very own newspaper publication. When Kane runs for Governor of New York, he gets blackmailed by his opponent J. W. Gettys. But here again Kane’s ego refuses to budge and he ends up not only losing the election but also his hard earned reputation. In the end, he is left all alone but nothing but solitude as his only companion.

4. Lex Luthor

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in the 1980 film 'Superman II'
Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in the 1980 film ‘Superman II’

There are superheroes and then there is Superman. Similarly, there are supervillains and then there is Lex Luthor. The character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Like all great baddies, Lex Luthor wants to control the world. When he is in the zone, his megalomaniacal frenzy is second to none. He is not only a business magnate but also a scientist and an inventor. Luthor has the money and the muscle to take the world in his influence but his biggest problem is Superman (whom he sees as a threat to the human race). Apart from his balding head, of course! His other major problems include Superman, Superman, and Superman. In other words, it is his life’s mission to kill the Superman, whether by hook or by crook.

5. Tywin Lannister

Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister in the HBO series 'Game of Thrones'
Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister in the HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’

Tywin Lannister is a fictional character in the epic fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by American novelist George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation ‘Game of Thrones’. The man is as cunning as a fox and as rich as a person can ever dream to be. He is also ruthless and coldblooded. The Lord of Casterly Rock, Tywin is an old timer who simply knows how to get the job done. His major problem in life is his insatiable greed for power. He would do anything to sit on the Iron Throne. But sitting on the Iron Throne is a burdensome proposition. It demands blood and sacrifice. Another of his major problems is his youngest son Tyrion who is a dwarf. It hurts Tywin to even think that he sired a puny like Tyrion. He hates him not merely because of his physical appearance but also because his wife had died while giving birth to him. He is also repulsed by the little man’s debauchery and sees him as a curse on House Lannister. Among his other problems are the various Houses of Westeros who are equally greedy for power, if not more.


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