What is the role of old man in lesson DUSK written by SAKI

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To me, the old man is sort of a plot device -- he is used as a way to set up Gortsby to be fooled by the younger man.  He also serves as the one who reveals to Gortsby that he has been fooled.

At the beginning of the story, the old man is setting next to Gortsby.  When he leaves, the young man comes and the contrast between his dress and that of the old men help make Gortsby think the young man's story could be true.

After Gortsby has given the young man his money, the old man comes back and causes Gortsby to realize he has been tricked.

So the old man (unintentionally) sets Gortsby up to be fooled and then reveals (again not on purpose) that Gortsby has fallen victim to a scam.

mkcapen1 | Student

Dusk to me represents the failures and depressions of man.  The old man describes dusk as covering everything.  He paints an initial picture of hopelessness which he continues to count himself among the hopeless. He describes this time of day to night as;

"hour of the defeated."

The old man is described as having the appearance as someone whom is distanced from others.

"He belonged unmistakably to that forlorn orchestra to whose piping no one dances;"

The old is used by Gortsby to describe and compare and contrast the two men.  The old man in his despair seems resolved and sad.  The young man who comes next seems obstinate and careless.  I believe this was the intent by having such a descriptive relationship between the old man and dusk.

Later the reader learns that it Gortsby who should be in despair because the young man duped him.  The soap had been the old man's.