Greed for Power and Money in Catch-22
Although Catch-22 is a novel that entirely takes place at war, the book uses comedy to emphasize the physical and emotional pain of war. The novel shows us how people are changed by war and how their focuses are changed through different experiences. Many of the people in the book are disgusted by their commanding officers and the conditions around them. Joseph Heller served in the war and witnessed crazy occurrences and met strange people like those in the book. By reading the novel, we can see that he strongly disliked war. There are many themes in the novel, two of the main themes are the greed for power and money.
Power greed is a major theme in Catch-22. There are many characters who put others aside for their own gain of power. Perhaps the most notorious power greedy character in the book is Colonel Cathcart. Colonel Cathcart desperately wants to be a major. If he is promoted, he will have much more power, and the power is what he wants. Cathcart is constantly raising the number of missions the pilots and bombardiers must complete to be discharged. Cathcart raises the missions to appeal the commanding officers. The men vehemently hate Cathcart for doing this because it changes their lives. Every time they think they are near being freed from the war, he raises the missions and ruins their plans. The problem with Cathcart is that he is competitive, and only thinks of how he is doing in comparison to how others are doing. He knew that most all men his age were not majors, so his only purpose was to become a major at his young age of 36. He would do anything to those below him to achieve major status.
Another man who pushes aside others for his own power was Captain Black, who changed the lives of all the men just to compete for major status. Black wanted the opening of Major, which had become vacant after major Duluth was killed over Perugia. The Captain saw no reasonable replacement for Duluth beside himself, but Major Major was the man who became Major. Black was completely confused, so he quickly created his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade. He imagined that Major Major must be a communist and that the Communists were taking everything over. He then made all of the men sign loyalty oaths in order to get virtually anything they needed to survive. They signed for their pay, and for everything they need to go out for a mission. Black's plan was to let Major Major starve, because he couldn't sign a loyalty oath for food, so he could not get any food. He was willing to let an innocent man die of starvation, so he could become Major and not let the "Communist" win.
Profit, both monetary...