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The Devil's Disciple

1 rating: 5.0
A book by George Bernard Shaw

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Author: George Bernard Shaw
Publisher: Echo Library
1 review about The Devil's Disciple

An excellent play on many levels

  • Oct 10, 2010
This is an excellent play on many levels. The story, similar in a few respects to Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, is, among other things, about a man's willingness to give up his life for another. However, where Dickens's story ends with the decision, Shaw's play focuses on the reactions of various people and the community to that decision.

The play and especially Shaw's Afterword reveals what really caused the British defeat at Saratoga. General Burgoyne would have won the battle if a rather stupid British official in London had not decided to leave his office for a holiday before signing the order for General Howe to leave New York and join him. Had the order been signed and Howe joined Burgoyne, Burgoyne would have had sufficient forces to beat the Americans. Without Howe's forces, he was very badly outnumbered.

Shaw uses this play to show again, as he did in other plays, that war is improper, gentlemanly character can be silly, and in his opinion, Christian practices are wrong.

The main characters are depicted very well. The "Devil's Disciple," although he eschews Christianity, shows good moral behavior, bravery, and a sense of humor. The minister realizes that Christianity will not save America, and he takes the field as a soldier. His wife is overwhelmed by the "Devil's Disciple," falls in love with him, and does all she can to save him.

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