Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown is a story about a man who struggles with internal conflict. On one hand, he wants to live a life of righteousness and virtue, but on the other hand, he is tempted by evil. This conflict is evident throughout the story, and it ultimately leads to Goodman Brown’s downfall.
The story begins with Goodman Brown about to embark on a journey into the woods. He is reluctant to go, but his wife encourages him, telling him that it will be good for him. As he travels deeper into the woods, Goodman Brown meets a stranger who looks remarkably like himself. The stranger tells Goodman Brown that he has been sent by the devil to tempt him.
Goodman Brown resists at first, but eventually succumbs to temptation and goes with the stranger. They come to a clearing where a group of people are gathered around a fire. Goodman Brown recognizes some of the people as friends and neighbors, but he is shocked to see that they are all participating in evil deeds.
Goodman Brown tries to flee, but the devilish figure tells him that it is too late for him now. Goodman Brown then experiences a vision of his wife being led away by the devil, and this finally breaks him. He wakes up from his vision in a state of madness and never recovers.
The internal conflict that Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays in Young Goodman Brown is one that many people can relate to. We all have moments where we struggle with temptation and the desire to do evil, and Goodman Brown’s story is a cautionary tale about what can happen when we give in to those desires.
The conflict in Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown is between joining the ranks of the devil and maintaining his integrity. Young Goodman Brown goes through the woods to pursue an inner ambition to be a witch while simultaneously contemplating all of the wonderful things (like his wife Faith) he would be leaving behind. The Young Goodman Brown is ultimately destroyed, and a new man emerges as a result of this internal struggle.
Though Hawthorne never comes right out and says it, Young Goodman Brown likely did not literally sell his soul to the Devil. Rather, he yielded to temptation, and in doing so, gave up a part of himself. This is what leads to Young Goodman Brown’s internal conflict- the struggle between good and evil within him. It is interesting to note that Young Goodman Brown only thinks of his wife as “Faith” throughout the story. He never refers to her by name.
This could suggest that even at this early stage in their relationship ( marriage was not yet consummated), Young Goodman Brown has already begun to idealize her to an unhealthy extent. To Young Goodman Brown, Faith represents all that is good in the world, and abandoning her would be tantamount to giving up his own goodness. Young Goodman Brown’s internal conflict is mirrored in the conflict between good and evil that exists within all of humanity.
We are all capable of both good and evil, and it is up to each of us to choose which side we will align ourselves with. Young Goodman Brown chooses evil, and in doing so, destroys himself. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown is a story about the dangers of succumbing to temptation and the duality of human nature. It is a tale that speaks to the internal conflict that exists within us all, and reminds us that we must be ever vigilant in our fight against evil.
Brown is a character that, like the rest of us, reacts to something he sees on television. When he becomes part of the Black Sabbath and participates in devil worship, however, he faces this ethical conundrum. Brown must decide before becoming a member of the Black Sabbath if his real passion is for the woods, a land of evil; or if it is for the innocence, fresh naivety, and youth with which he cherished in his village. This conflict comes up several times throughout the story. Brown grieves over the loss of his religion, which is a prevalent theme in
Young Goodman Brown also wrestles with the decision to turn his back on family and friends or to take the dark path. The Internal Conflict in Young Goodman Brown is one of the most important themes in the story. Brown must decide if he wants to succumb to the evilness that surrounds him in the forest, or if he wants to continue living with his Faith and remain pure. This internal conflict drives the plot of the story and causes Brown to make some very difficult decisions. One of the most famous examples of this conflict is when Brown leaves his wife, Faith, at the edge of the woods.
Throughout the narrative, Goodman Brown is in conflict with himself as to why he is doing it. He tries to turn back numerous times, but he is compelled to proceed on this inevitable path by the old traveler once more. When he gets close to the encounter site, he hears Faith succumb to Satan and rushes toward her.
This, however, is not the meeting that he was hoping for. Brown has to face the reality that his wife is just like everyone else and is capable of sinning. This shakes him to his core and sends him into a deep depression. In the end, Goodman Brown decides to leave Salem and never look back.
There’d be no Young Goodman Brown if it weren’t for the main characters personal struggle to decide what he would do. This is shown by the fact that most critical reviews of this tale concentrate on Goodman Browns attempt to resolve his private interests, which is in some ways indicated. We may never know if good or evil won the quarrel waged within Young Goodman Brown, but Hawthorne makes it clear that Brown was wounded for life by his experience.
Goodman Brown is, in effect, a everyman character. He is portrayed as an average guy who is just trying to do the right thing. However, he is also faced with many temptations and challenges, both from within himself and from the outside world. For example, Young Goodman Brown must constantly battle with his own desires and fears, as well as deal with the evil that lurks in the hearts of others. This internal struggle is what ultimately leads to his downfall.
While Young Goodman Brown may not be the most likable or heroic character, he is someone who we can all relate to on some level. We have all been faced with temptation and struggled with our own personal demons. And like Goodman Brown, we may not always make the right decision. But that doesn’t mean we are bad people, it just means we are human.