Free Young Goodman Brown Essays: Did the Devil Lie?

Free Young Goodman Brown Essays: Did the Devil Lie?

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Young Goodman Brown is an ordinary man who takes a ritualistic journey into the sins of mankind. Sin is a virtue of being human, which Brown has yet to realize. This is a story of the discovery of guilt and sin. But, the questions are: Did this journey really take place? And were the people who Brown encountered real or specters created by the devil?

Regardless if the journey was a dream or a reality, "a stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream." Let's call it reality because Brown was so deeply affected by it. So, the first question is answered, now, was the reality created by the devil to convert Brown or were all the people Brown encountered really as evil and hypocritical as they appeared.

After Brown left his wife, Faith, he started on a "dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest. . ." He was feeling not so alone, and thought that the devil himself could be at his back. At this very instant, Brown saw a figure leaning against a tree. The devil came as soon as Brown called him. Why was he so afraid he might meet the devil, when it seems to me he know he was going on an evil journey with the devil? The fellow traveler (let's just call him the devil) shared a resemblance to Brown. In fact, when goody Cloyse sees him she say he is "in the very image of my old gossip, goodman Brown,. . ." So, the devil contrived himself to look like Young Goodman Brown, so Brown would feel a sort of brotherhood, or fatherhood, to the devil. He made himself more like Brown so Brown would more easily be swayed. To me, if the devil can change his appearance, what would stop him from changing others appearances. Who's to say that it was actually goody Cloyse that Brown saw. Brown is so hurt that that the woman who taught him his catechism could actually be a witch. As would be anyone who's idea of what is right and wrong is shattered. But Brown wasn't so easily swayed as the devil had hoped, Brown still resisted. So, the devil thought he would shake Brown even more. He contrived the voices of the deacon Gookin and the minister.

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Brown looks to heaven to pray and a cloud instantly appears "hid[ing] the brightening stars." I think the devil covered up heaven with the cloud and brought more lies and deceit with it. Through the air, Brown hears voices and hears the trees move as if someone was there, but sees nothing. How hard would it be for the devil to create the whole scenario and throw a pink ribbon Brown's way. The devil knew that if nothing else could bring Brown to the conversion, his Faith could, or lack thereof. (When I use Faith's name, it could be easily interchanged with Brown's faith in himself and the whole of society.)

In the story, this is where Brown really loses himself to the devil. He believes the apparition to be true, thus taking what the devil says and does as reality. He becomes "maddened with despair." Then Brown picks up the staff, which is the source of power of the devil, and starts to "fly" down the path. Flying is not human. He is no longer in control of his body, he is so empowered by his rage and anger, that he is no better than the devil himself. "The road grew wilder and drearier, and more faintly traced, and vanished at length. . ." I think the road could be symbolic of Brown. He is losing himself, he has vanished. Because in the beginning of his journey, the road was dreary, like Brown. The farther he took the road, the more desolate it got. Brown is the scariest thing in the forest, he has definitely taken on a new role.

Was the "veiled woman" really Faith? So did the devil concoct this whole experience? Did Brown fall for the tricks of the devil? At the end it appears Brown renounces the devil, but the sin the devil has shown him scares him for the rest of his life. Did he choose to live a life of dreary existence based on a lie created by the devil. Brown needed to see the sins of humanity. But did the devil exaggerate and show him sin where none existed?
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