Study Guide

Canto XLV Greed

By Ezra Pound


When your main beef with the modern world is people's obsession with money, you're bound to get into issues of greed. And Pound does just that in Canto XLV. He never uses the word greed explicitly, but what he's mostly criticizing in this poem is the way that people's narrow-minded pursuit of money comes at the expense of any actual stuff getting made.

For example, someone from a bank might make a lot of money by playing the stock market or lending out money at a high interest rate. But at the end of the day, nothing is actually produced. A factory owner, on the other hand, makes money off of brushes, cars, or whatever that factory makes. For Pound, the real problem is the fact that greedy people are able to make money without actually producing anything for other people.

Questions About Greed

  1. In your mind, is greed a major problem for Pound, or is he more concerned with people not producing anything for the money they make (with that greed)?
  2. If you lent money to someone, do you think it would be greedy to ask for interest when they paid the loan back? Why or why not?
  3. If Pound is right, why do you think modern culture has come to worship making money more than it does producing stuff? Why is there more emphasis on being a consumer instead of a producer?

Chew on This

In Canto XLV, Pound claims that making money without producing anything yourself is just about the worst thing you can do.

In Canto XLV, greed is the main cause of conflict between human beings, even husbands and wives.

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