Guilt In Elizabeth Bowen's The Demon Lover

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“The Demon Lover”, written by Elizabeth Bowen, can be interpreted many ways, but the main message of the story tells the reader to be true to their promises. In this story, Kathleen is engaged to a very mysterious, controlling French soldier. Before he goes away to serve his country, she made a promise to him that she would love him forever; however, as she was walking back to her house, “she felt that unnatural promise drive down between her and the rest of humankind” (11). Thus, Bowen exaggerates the aura of the perpetual promise young Kathleen had just made. After a while, news returns to Kathleen’s family that her fiance has been deemed to be missing in action, and presumed dead. A few years go by, and the girl contemplated on whether or…show more content…
The tale is one that starts with a man returning from seven years of travel to his love which he finds is now married. When he reunites with her, he begs her to go away with him, but she doesn't want to leave her existing family behind. However, when he tells her he has “seven ships upon the sea, with four-and-twenty bold mariners, and music on every hand” (20) the woman decides that she would much rather live her life with this rich man, than with her modest family. She then goes to her two small children and says, “oh fare ye well, my own two babes, for I’ll never see you again!”(20) and with that she goes upon the man’s seven ships and sails away. Only a few miles off the coast, she begins to regret her decision and starts to weep for her family; with this, the man gets very upset. He first tries to calm her down by telling her he is sailing them to Italy, but when the woman spots two hills in the distance, and points to the second one he exclaims, “‘oh yon is the mountain of hell, where you and I will go!’”(21) He then sinks the ship, drowning them both under the unrelenting waves of the sea. This is the punishment the woman receives for abandoning her family just for the benefits of wealthy

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