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The Devil in Young Goodman Brown And Rappaccini's Daughter

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The Devil in Young Goodman Brown And Rappacini's Daughter

In Puritan Massachusetts the key word was suspicion. In order to be accepted, by

the community, you had to be a member of the "elect," destined for a spot in the

eternity of heaven. In order to be member of this elite group of "selected"

individuals you had to be free of sin and evil. It goes without saying, that you

could never be caught conjuring the devil, as is illustrated by the horrors of

the infamous Salem witch trials. In Young Goodman Brown, and Rappacini's

Daughter Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays two different ways of soliciting or being

solicited by the devil. The final scenes in both of these stories although

similar in nature, are actually conflicting in essence, and show the two adverse

ways in which people and evil can become one.

In Young Goodman Brown, the protagonist, Goodman Brown goes off on a typical

search for the devil. The devil is associated with darkness and terror, a

creature only to be sought after while enveloped in the darkness of the night.

As Goodman Brown himself replies to Faith's longing for him to wait until

morning to embark on his journey, "My journey needst be done twixt now and

sunrise" (611). Goodman Brown knows exactly what he is going to look for, he is

searching for evil. He goes to the forest to do his deed and "he had taken a

dreary road darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" to get there(611).

Goodman Brown is willingly seeking the devil, and Hawthorne is throwing in all

the stereotypes. This entire search for the devil is portrayed as being very

ugly. What then is pretty? In Young Goodman Brown beauty equals inherent

goodness, or Faith. Young Goodman Brown separates from this righteousness, for

evil. From the beginning, he was leaving, at least for the time being, Faith

behind. "And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into

the street, letting the wind play with the soft ribbons of her cap" (610). The

beauty of faith and her pink ribbons are left behind, his intentions are obvious.

In Rappacini's Daughter Giovanni does none of this. He never went out searching
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