What is the allegory in "The Devil and Daniel Webster"?  

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The allegory in this tale concerns the power of the United States, as represented by the all-American hero, Daniel Webster himself. There is clearly a sense in which this story is a nationalistic and jingoistic tale designed to instil pride and satisfaction in the American populace at a time when perhaps such reassurance was needed. This allegorical reading can be shown when we consider the character of Webster and how he is portrayed. Remember his generosity: he is helping out Jabez Stone, even though he has "seventy-five other things to do and the Missouri Compromise to straighten out." No mean feats for any man. But of course his main achievement is being able to use his eloquence and oratory skills to convince twleve of the most blackhearted individuals from American history to let Jabez Stone escape from his Faustian pact.

The very strong identification that we have between the character of Daniel Webster and the country that he represents is further seen through Stone's description of him as "the Union's stay and New Hampshire's pride." Webster openly declares that he would sacrifice himself in order to "save the Union," and he wins his case, saving Stone, through his evocative description of the qualities that represent America and that he lives for: justice, faith in humanity and a passionate love of country and land. The allegory in this tale therefore shows the might of such values--the founding values of America--in the face of the darkest opposition.


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