The Doctor in John Stainbeck's novel The Pearl

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The doctor is one of the main characters in John Steinbeck's novel "The Pearl". Author used this character as a symbol of evil. Steinbeck showed the doctor as a prejudice who treated simple poor people as animals. He was such a greedy person that moral responsibilities did not exist for him. Over the years spent in La Paz he became a professional liar instead of a doctor.

Before a medical student is granted a doctor's degree he must to say a Hippocratic Oath. In that oath each student swears to aid the ill and to cure the injured. The doctor from the Steinbeck's novel "The Pearl" must have done the same thing. He was helping ill and treating injured, but only those who were able to pay him. That was the way he earned his wealth. Not once in his career he refused to aid any of rich people.

However, when Kino and Juana brought their baby whose life was in danger because of scorpion's poison, doctor did not even see the baby. He sent them away saying "Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for little Indians? I am a doctor, not a veterinary."(p.17)* By doing such a thing he already ended Coyotitio's life, without knowing he had done though. Is that a doctor who gave a Hippocratic Oath? I can expect a lawyer or a sales person, or whoever being so prejudiced, but not a doctor whose call is to help those who need his help. But doctor's attitude toward Kino extremely changed right after he heard news about the biggest pearl Kino had found.

Doctor's greed was what pushed him to visit Kino and Juana in their brush house. He had never been at that part of La Paz before. He had never cured poor people, so at the moment he showed up there everybody knew why he came. Doctor was known in La Paz by being an evil, greedy person "They knew his ignorance, his cruelty, his avarice, his appetites, his, sins". (p.14)* His appetite for wealth brought him to the place he would not normally go and made him to do what he would not normally do. Doctor was not poor. He did not need that pearl. He just wanted it so much that nothing could stop him, even if he needed to lie and poison an innocent baby.

What a good liar the doctor was. That is, probably, something he did the best in his life. I am wondering if he actually finished a medical school or a "lies university". That doctor was so professional in his lies. He called Kino "He is client of mine"(p.28)* without even thinking before saying. It took him a few seconds to figure out how to trick Kino when he came to Kino's house to aid Coyotito and saw that baby is doing fine. How miserable a person should be to take advantage of poor people and to lie like that.

Steinbeck could not find a better character to represent evil in this novel. Doctor identified all the bad characteristics one can imagine. His stereotypes toward poor people, hunger for wealth, and brazen lies prove he's an evil itself.

*John Steinbeck “The Pearl” published in Penguin Books 1994.