Consequences Of Temptation In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Every day is Temptation can lead to unforeseen problems and consequences; In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 19th century short story Young Goodman Brown, the main character is tempted by the forest around his town, an old man, and a satanic staff.
Young Goodman Brown is tempted by the forest that encircles his town. The dark and gloomy forests of Salem represent the fringe elements of the Puritan religion concealed behind the infinite trees. The moral-based Puritans are told that entering the forest is a sin, "My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path and
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The mysterious old man is the core of Young Goodman Brown’s temptation. Constantly insisting and urging, "Let us walk on, nevertheless, reasoning as we go, and if I convince thee not, thou shalt turn back. We are but a little way in the forest, yet." (page number in book) The old man intrigues Goodman Brown through his radical approach to life regarding aspects of life taught to not be questioned by man. By contrasting with the idealist Puritan ideas, the old man offers something to Young Goodman Brown that nobody had ever given him before; thoughts that he doesn’t want to think but that he must think. Therefore, the old man becomes so compelling to Young Goodman Brown that he will follow him mindlessly as the old man tempts him with more corrupting knowledge. The old man is essentially the physical embodiment of temptation: relentlessly nagging Brown to continue further into the forest, abandoning Faith figuratively and literally while rationalizing the illogical decisions being made. As the physical embodiment of temptation his physical appearance represents the deep meaning of temptation within a person, “Bearing a considerable resemblance to him [Young Goodman Brown], though perhaps more in expression than features. Still, they might have been taken for father and son.” (page number in book) The shared expression between the two to the extent that the two could be perceived as father and son shows …show more content…
The staff represents his final temptation before he is completely consumed by the satanic corruption that he has received. The old man repeatedly urges Young Goodman Brown to take this staff, “Take my staff, if you are so soon weary.”, “Sit here and rest yourself awhile; and when you feel like moving again, there is my staff to help you along.” (page number in book) The old man relentlessly urges Young Goodman Brown to give up to the exhaustion of their adventure and to simply grasp the staff that possesses satanic powers. Although Young Goodman Brown had submitted to his former temptations the forest and the old man, this temptation is different because he knows that this one would be his last temptation before he is consumed in chaos. In his final internal effort to withstand this temptation, Brown refuses the staff and shows reluctance. His efforts are futile however and Brown is overcome by the temptation when he witnesses his highly esteemed Goody Cloyse transported to hell by the old man because she challenged him, “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given.” (page number in book) And with this realization Young Goodman Brown is overcome by temptation and he lifts the satanic staff. Now overcome by temptation Young Goodman Brown is taken completely unconsciously and by the will of temptation to the satanic ceremony where he

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