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Devil’s Disciple, The


by George Bernard Shaw


Collectors Edition! Highly Recommended! This is an excellent play on many levels. The story, similar in a few respects to Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, is, among other things, about a man’s willingness to give up his life for another. However, where Dickens’s story ends with the decision, Shaw’s play focuses on the reactions of various people and the community to that decision. The play and especially Shaw’s Afterword reveals what really caused the British defeat at Saratoga. General Burgoyne would have won the battle if a rather stupid British official in London had not decided to leave his office for a holiday before signing the order for General Howe to leave New York and join him. Had the order been signed and Howe joined Burgoyne, Burgoyne would have had sufficient forces to beat the Americans. Without Howe’s forces, he was very badly outnumbered.

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Set in Colonial America during the Revolutionary era, the play tells the story of Richard Dudgeon, a local outcast and self-proclaimed “Devil’s disciple”. In a twist characteristic of Shaw’s love of paradox, Dudgeon sacrifices himself in a Christ-like gesture despite his professed Infernal allegiance.


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