The Mysterious Stranger In the Mark Twain story The Mysterious Stranger, Satan teaches Theodor that the Moral Sense that humans possess is more of an impairment than a gift. The first time Satan degrades Mans Moral Sense is when he use the term to explain the difference between himself and Man (66). Theodor, who only had a dim idea of what the Moral Sense was is upset at the way Satan speaks of it. Satan shows Theodor several examples of the cruel things Man does that no other animal on earth would do. Satan says that that although man was given the Moral Sense to differentiate right from wrong he usually makes the wrong decision(78).
Satan also says that man is proud to have the Moral Sense when it is actually a shameful possession(78). The examples of the poverty in the French Village(78-9), the man being tortured in the jail(78),and persecution of the witches are all used by Satan to teach Theodor the flaws of mankind and the Moral Sense. Theodor begins to understand why Satan looks down upon our race as silly and trivial when he sees all of the cruel things that man does to other men and animals. Satan defends even the animals of the earth by saying that even they are not tainted with the disease called the Moral Sense(80) and therefore cannot do wrong because they dont have a choice like man does. He questions the boys as to why Hans Opperts loyal dog should not be allowed into heaven and asks if their race can add anything to this dogs stock of morals and magnanimities.(80) Satan thinks that the Moral Sense make humans a foolish race.
Mans cruelty cannot be blamed on anyone but him because he knows right from wrong. Along with the Moral Sense, Satan also compares humans to sheep, and says that they are mostly followers and afraid to assert themselves because they want to stand well in their neighbors eye. Satan emphasizes the witch hunt as a perfect example of mans shortcomings. He states that only a handful of pious lunatics actually want to kill the people accused of practicing witchcraft, but people tend to follow those few that make the most noise. Theodor realizes that he is guilty of following the minority after he throws the stone at the woman accused of witchcraft and is confronted by Satan(109) He didnt want to throw the stone but was afraid of being accused of sympathizing with the witch and therefore be persecuted himself. Theodor also confesses to being a follower when he thinks about, but does not tell Marget to be careful with her actions when he knows people are becoming suspicious of her household.
The Moral Sense and the idea of Mans tendency to follow the loud minority are taught to Theodor to be the flaws of mankind. Theodor learns from Satans lessons when he considers that he is guilty of some of the things Satan has presented to him as being distinctly human. Book Reports.