In the play, ‘The Devil’s Disciple’ by George Bernard Shaw, the playwright shows a lot of conflict between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’. In Act 1, Scene 1, he conflicts the behaviour of Mrs Dudgeon and Anthony Anderson in many ways. Starting with Mrs Dudgeon’s first line, it is spoken “sharply. ” In the stage directions, Mrs Dudgeon “buries her face in her hands, as it is her duty as a widow to be overcome by grief”, suggesting she is not at all overcome by grief, so possibly, Shaw’s intent was that she cried overdramatically when it is performed on stage. The first impression of Anderson is that he is “shrewd, genial…
” “With something of authority of his profession in his bearing. ” Other words used are “sensible… strong, healthy… keen, cheerful… no doubt an excellent parson… ” Shaw obviously thinks a great deal of him, respecting him. He does not say anything bad about him. Shaw is displaying Anderson as a loving and kind man. He looks “compassionately” at Mrs Dudgeon, stating that the lord had laid his hand “very heavily” upon her. She in turn replies “with intensely recalcitrant resignation. ” The conflict between them had already arisen, very clear.
Mrs Dudgeon “spitefully” comments that her husband Timothy’s brother Peter “deserved it, if ever a man did. ” We are told later that she in fact was in love with Peter. Possibly Shaw in intending that we notice that she is not very forgiving and “good” Christians are supposed to be forgiving. Being a parson, one would consider Anderson to be shocked at this blurted response, but instead his reply is put forward “gently. ” He then changes, turning “grave”, when talking of a subject, which clearly distresses him a bit, telling her of Richard (her eldest son’s) presence at the execution.
Mrs Dudgeon turns “disagreeably” surprised then vindictive, talking of her own son as a “wicked, dissolute, godless-“, then asking with “evident dread” if Timothy saw him. This shows she is bitter and not loving at all. She is “greatly relieved” when told her “good” husband didn’t see her “bad” son. Although she then “sneers” when told he was greatly touched and impressed by his brother’s awful death. Although she is a “good” Christian, she seems to feel no remorse at all for her brother in laws death.