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How do I view "Young Goodman Brown" from a Freudian point?

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kennishawalters | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 7, 2009 at 9:04 AM via web

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How do I view "Young Goodman Brown" from a Freudian point?

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sesmith5 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 7, 2009 at 10:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Freudian analysis is based on the conflict between the Id, the Ego, and the Superego.  The Id represents our savage and hedonistic tendencies.  The Superego represents our conscience and pride (morality).  The Ego, or reason, balances between both our tendencies to be devils (id) and angels (superego).  Young Goodman Brown travels in a dream into the forest following a devil (his id).  Faith, his wife, begs him not to go.  Along the way he finds many people who he esteems in the forest participating in satanic rituals.  He even finds his wife, Faith in the forest participating in a "black mass."  Faith represents all of the ideals that Goodman Brown's superego values--fidelity to God and morality.  Immediately before his and Faith's initiation into the Satanic cult, he begs Faith to look heavenward.  He wakes from this dream trip unsure of the reality of what he has experienced and most importantly, unsure of Faith's success in looking heavenward.  Thus he begins to mistrust Faith and indeed everyone who he ever had any faith in.  His ego is unable to reconcile the conflict between his id and his superego.  Thus, Goodman Brown ends up bitter and mistrustful from then on.

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