What is the archetype of "The Devil and Tom Walker"?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Washington's archetype was Faust, based on the play by Christopher Marlowe (and perhaps other sources of the Faust legend as well.)  Faust is the man who sells his soul to the devil in order to achieve wealth, but later greatly regrets his decision when he is forced to suffer the consequences.  In Irving's version, the  "narrator relates a story he has heard about a local man's dealings with the devil. The narrator never claims that the stories are true, only that they are widely believed.

According to local legend, a treasure is buried in a dark grove on an inlet outside of Boston."  Like his earlier incarnations, Walker too will come to regret his ill-fated bargain. 


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