What do you think is the moral of the ballad "The Demon Lover"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The ballad "The Daemon Lover" is about a woman whose old lover returns after seven long years and attempts to entice her to keep a vow she had made to love him. She protests that she now has a husband and two children, but he entices her with wealth and...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The ballad "The Daemon Lover" is about a woman whose old lover returns after seven long years and attempts to entice her to keep a vow she had made to love him. She protests that she now has a husband and two children, but he entices her with wealth and adventure to come with him to sea. She kisses her children goodbye and goes with him upon his luxurious ships and then, shortly after their departure, notices his cloven feet. Finally, she asks him about the scenery and where they will go, and he tells her that all she has to look forward to are the bleak and snowy mountains of hell.

The moral of this story is simple: promises of fortune and excitement are temptations, and the woman who would be taken by them is a woman destined for hell. This is a very common type of moral tale which enforces patriarchal norms, in this case specifically to keep mothers stably in their socially reproductive roles.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team