Consider that there are many tales which have the intention of turning the morality of its reader on its end, or at least make them reconsider it. In order to do this the author must first work to move his anticipated audience in that direction. We sympathize with and relate to (or not) characters through our subjective morality, not theirs. The author may or may not share our perspective, but they are still banking on it. Subjectively, you may side with Yog-Sothoth or the Whatleys. I don't think that that was Lovecraft's intention and, if the bulk of the audience shared your viewpoint, I wager it would not have been a very popular story.
And now for my own bit of subjective metareading which clashes with both yours and Lovecraft's: I do see it as a good vs. evil tale, but I can't help but get the feeling that the victory is fleeting. Given the proliferation of Cthu-things around Lovecraft's New England, and their frequency of assault on it, this just buys them a few more years. Barely a bump in the road to ol' Yoggy!
To Aristide Torchia... great points.
It is true that an author should consider the morality of the audience, and when dealing with the average human being (fan of weird fiction or not), chances are they will easily side with humans and conventional human morality. For this, I certainly don't disagree with Mr. Price's assessment that if the story is a simple "good vs. evil" scenario, then it was likely Lovecraft's answer to the demands for such a story on the part of his readers/editors/whoever... as he said in the Fear of the Unknown
documentary, something along the lines of, "Well, if that's what they want, I'll give it to 'em."
This comes back to my point earlier about the seemingly amoral standpoint of Yog-Sothoth and the Whateleys... they're not human; they operate on a different set of morals (if any at all) than we human beings do, and since that involves "wiping the Earth clean," that's an "End of the world" scenario that is both appealing to us in fiction and is a point of terror because... well, we fear death; we fear extinction. This is the very nature of Lovecraft's work and how he terrifies his readers. The reason this story seems like "good vs. evil" is because instead of the main character(s) being driven to madness and lacking the resolve to take action, they do take action, and they do succeed.
I found it interesting that Mr. Price said of Armitage that he's almost "like a Lumley character," and I do wonder to what extent Lumley was inspired by Armitage. It would make sense when considering that this is one of Lovecraft's few "actionable" characters who not only takes action, but also has some previous knowledge (and, by implication, experience) with Yog-Sothoth and the Necronomicon
. Lumley has often said, "my characters fight back;" Armitage fights back... despite his age, he and his cohorts fight back without having to overcome any disbelief.
The problem is that it's not "good vs. evil." It's "humans vs. other creatures." We as humans ARE assigning our morality to the characters in the story, so you're right about that. Nor am I disputing that not many of us would side with Yog-Sothoth or the Whateley's; even I in my nihilism wouldn't. I like being alive. I like being human. I do have moral qualms about killing and taking life (not just of other humans, but any living creature... okay, except insects). But when a friend of mine (named Ryan) asked me to explain Lovecraft's cosmic view to him, this was the conversation...
ME: Do you consider yourself evil?
RYAN: Of course not!
ME: What about ants?
RYAN: What? Do I think they're evil?
ME: No, do you think that they consider you evil?
RYAN: Why do I care?
ME: So, when one of them sees us about to crush them, you don't think they'd consider you to be some evil monster?
RYAN: Ants are too small; they can't think.
ME: And so we are but ants to creatures like Cthulhu, Azathoth, and Yog-Sothoth. We can think... but our brains and our conceptions of life and the universe are as nothing compared to theirs.
Or another example: the Alien from the Alien
films. Was it malicious? Yes. Was it evil? I don't consider it so. As Ash states in the first film (which next to the third film is very Lovecraftian) - "It's a survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality." Yes, it was an unpleasant and vicious creature, but it does what it must to survive. It's just that its life cycle involves killing off the host - in its case, a human.
This is the inherent moral problem with Lovecraft's cosmic view; and why I and many people take issue with Derleth's modifications of the Mythos... I hate to make it a matter of religious predilection, but Derleth was a lapsed Catholic whose views were steeped in notions of good vs. evil, black and white, something either is or isn't. Lovecraft's atheist, more malign universe had no use for such notions except to mock them... not contemptuously, but simply to point out that what we think and what we know are limited by our human perceptions, and that the true nature of the cosmos is beyond our ability to understand.
We see The Dunwich Horror
as a "good vs. evil" story because we as humans are equating humans with good. Lovecraft's point in his stories was that this is not how the universe views us. Bad things will happen to good people... because that's life; that's the universe. "Deserve's got nothing to do with it" as Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven
(wow, I'm almost as bad as Mr. Fifer with the movie references).
On a side note... while Lovecraft does state that he identifies with Armitage, it's funny how much of himself he put into Wilbur Whateley as well. He's a rather hideous child, dresses very uniformly, is very precocious, raised by his grandfather in lieu of a father (implications of incest aside), educated at home in his grandfather's library, the strange and mentally aberrant mother who dotes on him... all of these were points that Mr. Price has made in his Dunwich Cycle
publication, yet he didn't mention any of it in the Podcraft. Lack of time I suppose.
But still, it's fun to think of Lovecraft coming up with the two characters... the one "villain" being somewhat of an analog for his self-image as an outsider, and the other being that of what he would aspire to be - a learned scholar who takes action.