How can I tackle the theme of good and evil in "Young Goodman Brown"?
Another element of the theme of good and evil to consider is found toward the end of the story, at the end of the witch meeting in the woods. The Devil is speaking to the congregation gathered there and is speaking of a variety of evil acts such as wives murdering their husbands, sons killing their fathers, and young women killing unborn children. His list of "secret crimes" is shocking, and it is this kind of knowledge, to "see the inmost secrets of man" that he promises to those who follow him. By this point in the story, Goodman Brown has had his faith in the goodness of others pretty well destroyed, and while he is tempted to join, he rejects the offer.
While this act seems as if it would save Brown, it is revealed in the end that Brown never looked at his neighbors and townspeople the same way after that night. Even though he rejected the gift of "sight" he still ends up being able to see what he now preceives as everyone's inherently evil nature. He can see no goodness...
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