Does Young Goodman Brown dream the Black Mass or actually see it? How do you know? Does it make a difference in your interpretation of the story?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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We cannot know for sure whether Goodman Brown actually saw the Witches' Sabbath or if he dreamed it because there are no absolutely definitive clues that establish the truth one way or the other.  However, it doesn't actually matter whether it was real or a dream.  We do know that Brown left his home, abandoning his wife, Faith, symbolic of Christian faith in general.  On his way into the forest, he thought to himself,

Methought [...] there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done to-night.  But, no, no!  't would kill her to think it.  Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.

In other words, then, Brown makes the...

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