Dual Nature of Mr. Scratch in “the Devil and Daniel Webster”

Topics: The Devil and Daniel Webster, Psychology, Soul Pages: 2 (429 words) Published: January 4, 2013
Dual nature of Mr. Scratch in “The Devil and Daniel Webster” In the guise of Mr. Scratch, the Devil appears as one of the title characters in Benet’s short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. Traditionally, the Devil has been depicted as a fearsome figure. However, different from the frightening devils in other stories, Mr. Scratch seems to have a dual nature, which combines frightening and comical characteristics. With respect to his frightening characteristic, firstly, even if he is very human in appearance, it can be clearly seen that Mr. Scratch is a devil after all. His “[driving] up in a handsome buggy” and wearing “boots with a cane” make him quite human-like. However, with supernatural abilities and vicious powers, not only can he collect human souls and put them into his box, but he can also control the natural elements such as winds, to frighten people according to his will and summon the spirit of dead men. Secondly, Mr. Scratch is frightening because of his casual attitude toward human life. In his eyes, human life is insignificant and menial. When collecting human souls is regarded as a normal affair, Mr. Scratch can mutter the names of these collected souls in such a natural way and catch human souls just like butterflies. His supernatural abilities and vicious powers, together with his casual attitude toward human life make him a definite frightening character. As for his comical characteristics, first of all, Mr. Scratch displays a rather human appearance and mannerisms. Indeed, he is portrayed as polite and refined gentleman who seems to like doing business with Jabez Stone and Daniel Webster. Despite being who can just grab the soul of Jabez Stone by using his magic power and putting it into his box directly, Mr. Scratch is nicer and more considerate. When he arrives, he is described as "a soft-spoken, dark-dressed stranger", who "[drives] up in a handsome buggy". Moreover, Mr. Scratch displays very human emotions like pride,...
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