In "Young Goodman Brown", what means does the devil use to persuade Brown to continue his journey to the devil baptism?

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cmcqueeney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The devil uses several tactics to persuade Young Goodman Brown to continue on the journey towards the baptism. First, he makes himself amenable to Brown by claiming he knows many of his relatives. Young Goodman Brown doesn't quite believe the devil and claims that for his wife Faith he must go back, but immediately they come upon Goody Cloyse on the path who is the first in a series of pious people that Brown sees along this path to the baptism. Also at this point, the devil gives Young Goodman Brown his staff which, as the story suggests, has supernatural evil powers itself.

The devil also engages in a lively and reasoned discussion with Young Goodman Brown debating the evil of the situation. Brown becomes so interested in the conversation that he doesn't even realize he is continuing deeper into the forest. The final straw is when Brown hears his wife from the cloud above and sees her pink ribbons fall. He believes his wife is given over to Satan, so he looses his own 'faith' and tears through the forest directly into the baptism. Once their, he is drawn forward by members of the 'congregation' gathered for Brown's baptism. Young Goodman Brown seems to make one final appeal to Faith and his faith at the evil altar, but it's too late. Satan's destruction of Brown's life is complete, and becomes evident when Brown returns to town and lives the rest of his life in despair and gloom.

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Young Goodman Brown

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