In "Young Goodman Brown," where does it seem like Young Goodman Brown is going? What word choices give this away?

In "Young Goodman Brown," it seems as though the protagonist is on his way to meet the Devil. Some word choices that give this away are: "What if the Devil himself should be at my elbow?" and "Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste than usual on his present evil purpose."

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale "Young Goodman Brown" follows the mysterious journey of the apparently innocent title character through a dark and menacing landscape. As the story begins, the protagonist is trying to convince his young wife, tellingly named Faith, of his need to be away from her...

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale "Young Goodman Brown" follows the mysterious journey of the apparently innocent title character through a dark and menacing landscape. As the story begins, the protagonist is trying to convince his young wife, tellingly named Faith, of his need to be away from her on this particular night, despite her urgent pleas that he stay and quell her fears.

Although she finally accepts his departure, Brown is guilt-ridden as he leaves, and his thoughts suggest that he is headed on a morally dangerous path:

What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand!

He also wonders if he didn't see an omen of some future trouble in her face:

as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done to-night...'twould kill her to think it.

Yet, still he feels justified in continuing on the road toward his "present evil purpose."

As he proceeds, he enters a thick and gloomy forest, where he wonders, "What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow?" Presently he crosses paths with a stranger with whom he had a "covenant" to meet. This middle-aged man wielding a snake-like staff is soon revealed to be Satan. Indeed, when they encounter an older woman known to Brown for her piety, she quickly recognizes the young man's diabolical companion and displays a surprising taste for the sulphurous realm herself.

After a brief respite from his evil partner, he comes upon him once again in the more natural setting of a satanic ritual being celebrated deep in the forest. The participants include the people of his town, his congregation, his family, and even his wife, Faith. He observes this horrifying ceremony from a distance and then engages with it. The experience shatters his soul.

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