Never Bet The Devil Your Head Summarygreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I'm A New Reader of Poe and I Find His Work Very Interesting, But Yet A Little Hard To Understand. My Question Is About "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" I Just Want To Make Sure I Got The Ending Right, What I got Out Of It Is That Toby Used The Saying "I'll Bet The Devil My Head" And At The End Of The Story The Man In Black Was The Devil And Since Toby Couldn't Make It Over The Stile The Devil (Guy In Black) Took Tobys Head. Is That What Really Went On Or Am I Just Really Dumb..
-- Anonymous, February 09, 2003
The point of the satire is that it is a satire of the moral tale, a tyranny over art that Poe decried and that his critics attacked him for omitting. So instead of an uplifting lesson Poe makes the the moral even more grotesque and ridiculous. The whole is filled with moralizers Poe mocks from Carlle to the Transcendentalists at The Dial. The Man in Black I seem to have missed. It is not necessary to take the tale's narrator(as opposed to Poe) as the devil incarnate but it could add to the satire since obviously Poe's critics went on to infer him personally devoid of morals since his stories had no redeeming social lesson. Despite its rambling form it quite throughly runs the gamut of the normal moral tale and its proponents in the literary world by dragging them into the lesson itself.
-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003