"I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds' pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God ... In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned, towns, preached new religion, conquered whole kingdoms" (16)
The lawyer writes this imagery in his letter to the banker, explaining his bizarre actions, and why he has chosen to leave the house before the years were up.
The banker at his lowest
"It was a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen year before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations" (6)
The story begins with this imagery, setting the scene in the present, fifteen years before the events that are about to be recounted. The paragraph sets the scene for the impending events.
The banker at his peak
"The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the best. At supper he made fun of the young man" (8)
This imagery describes the character of the banker and portrays him in his youth. The imagery allows us to better grasp how much the banker changes in the next fifteen years.
Consumption of earthly goods
"He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one" (9)
The imagery here depicts the thoughts of the lawyer during his years of captivity. It shows the reader exactly and explicitly how the lawyer felt and thought during that time period, as well as how he evolved.
The Bet Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Bet is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
During his imprisonment, the prisoner uses books as a means of coping without human interaction. He finds solace in knowledge, and, more generally, in learning. The story can thus be read as something of a self-aware work of literature: it...