The Master of Ballantrae Summary
Robert Louis Stevenson

Everything you need to understand or teach The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  • The Master of Ballantrae Summary & Study Guide

The Master of Ballantrae Summary

all of Stevenson's works, The OfMaster of Ballantrae is the only one which he repeatedly referred to as a tragedy. While many of the earlier titles emphasize success as a result of heroic endeavor, this book seems to suggest that any such endeavor is bound to fail. While many readers view it as Stevenson's finest completed work, others find the grimness of both the plot and the nature of several of the characters (most importantly James Durie, the Master) depressing. That the man who wrote in one of his essays, "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy" could pen so gloomy and pessimistic a work causes some readers to reject the novel — although many critics explain that this work finally reveals Stevenson's real attitude toward life.

The parallel between the brothers' conflict— James representing the...

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