Essay on George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple

Essay on George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple

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George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple

When we are first introduced to Richard Dudgeon, at the reading of his
late father Timothy's will in his childhood home, we have already
learned of his character from the opinions of three other characters:
firstly, his mother, then from Anthony Anderson, the minister, and
finally, from Anderson's wife Judith. None of these accounts are in
Richard's favour, although Anthony Anderson is perhaps the least
against Richard of them all. Richard's mother considers Richard to be
the lowest of the low and a disgrace to his society; she believes that
there is nothing admirable about him at all. However, one could argue
that she is not much of an admirable woman herself, embittered by
having been forced to marry Timothy Dudgeon and not Timothy's late
brother Peter, for whom she really had feelings. We learn that Timothy
was the good and righteous brother, whereas Peter was not and was
therefore disgraced and cast into shame by his relatives and peers.
Richard, however, shows a profound liking and support of Peter, and
this means that he too is looked upon in disgust, particularly by his
mother. Judith Anderson has much the same opinion of Richard as his
mother does, though her dislike is perhaps not quite as severe.

Richard is put down simply because of his religious beliefs; whereas
all of his relatives are Puritans, he simply wants to enjoy life, and
this is what has earned him the title of the 'Devil's Disciple'.
Indeed, those who despise him the most are all God-fearing; his
younger cousin Essie shows a liking for him because not only does he
show her kindness, but because she herself is not a devout Puritan,
being put down herself simply for being the illegitima...

... middle of paper ...

...ero, but Anderson tells him otherwise.

In conclusion, what Shaw is trying to tell us from this play is that
you should not judge upon first impressions; and that what a man
appears as outwardly, is not necessarily what he really feels
inwardly. The audience is quick to judge upon Richard's character from
the accounts we are given at the beginning of the play, but as the
story progresses, we learn that there is more to the man than meets
the eye, and that perhaps the comments and tales of his God-fearing
relatives and neighbours are not enough to judge him upon. Richard,
despite his great display of bravado and arrogance through his
confident manner and use of dialogue, as well as having a reputation
which he clearly feels proud of, is really a very good hearted man,
and perhaps even more willing to save his fellow man than all his
puritanical relatives.

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