“Want of money and the distress of a thief can never be alleged as the cause of his thieving, for many honest people endure greater hardships with fortitude. We must therefore seek the cause elsewhere than in want of money, for that is the miser’s passion, not the thief’s” — William Blake
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This quote from William Blake suggests that lack of money or financial hardship alone cannot fully explain or justify why someone chooses to steal or become a thief. While honest people may endure significant want or distress without resorting to crime, Blake acknowledges that extreme deprivation could potentially compromise one’s ethics in rare cases.
However, he asserts that most theft is motivated by something other than mere necessity, such as a passion for acquiring money or possessions in excess of what is truly needed. A deeper interpretation is that Blake saw greed and temptation as more common underlying causes of theft than simple survival, challenging the notion that all criminals can be explained or excused by their circumstances alone.