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Why Was Francisco a Playboy in Atlas Shrugged?

Updated on August 31, 2021
Mark O Richardson profile image

Mark is from Utah. He is married and has 3 children. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.


Why? What Purpose Did it Serve?

In Ayn Rand's epic novel, Atlas Shrugged, Francisco D'Anconia, heir to the greatest fortune in the world and a productive genius with boundless ambition, changed his course and posed as, of all things, a playboy, for the following reasons: He used it as an ironic cover for himself, for spending money with his extravagant lifestyle, and D'Anconia Copper would have been looted if he would have used his genius and ambition to build his empire. I will discuss each of these reasons in more detail.
As it was ironic for him to act as a playboy, the looters did not suspect that he was destroying his fortune and D'Anconia Copper. It was an excellent cover for him. This enabled him to recruit the great thinkers because he could come and go as he pleased. He could go all over the country as he was in control of D'Anconia Copper and it would be expected that a playboy would want to travel all over the country. With his charisma and his eloquent speech, no one dared to challenge him and his lifestyle. Also, one would gather that the politicians would avoid a playboy as it would make them look bad to the American people. It could cause the people to question the character of those in office (if they were too blind to see it already). So in other words, as a playboy, he was able to show that he was in bondage to no one, so this gave him freedom to achieve his goals.
As a playboy, he could spend his millions in excess with his extravagant lifestyle. He was able to use his money as he saw fit. This destroyed the assets of D'Anconia Copper and enabled him to obliterate the other corporations as a result. With so many individuals, companies, and governments relying on him and his product, the effect of the fall of D'Anconia Copper was disastrous to the entire world. He preferred to destroy his fortune rather than give it to the looters. D'Anconia Copper being looted and destroyed by corrupt people would have brought shame to his family name for him. Francisco D'Anconia took his family name upon himself and took the initiative to not allow others to control him, his fortune, and D'Anconia Copper.
If he would have used his genius and ambition to build D'Anconia Copper, then the looters would have mooched off of him just as they did with Hank Rearden and Rearden Metal. His choice to destroy his fortune merely sped up the inevitable. The looters did not see him as a threat as he was not living up to his potential. They foolishly trusted him and relied on him. They never imagined that D'Anconia Copper would fall.


These are the reasons that Francisco D'Anconia posed as a playboy. The ironic cover gave him freedom and strength, he could spend his dollars in excess to destroy his empire with his extravagant lifestyle and he could not build D'Anconia Copper with his genius and ambition as this would have caused others to loot his empire and fortune. I am grateful to have been able to absorb this great work and learn much from it. It is very concerning to see how true the events in this book are today. There are so many characters and their development throughout this extensive novel is excellent. It makes me want to be a better person and to have more ambition.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mark Richardson


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