What or who are the protagonist and antagonist in the story "Young Goodman Brown?"  

Expert Answers
danylyshen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In one case, the protagonist and the antagonist are one and the same person--Young Goodman Brown. It is a psychological short story of Hawthorne's implying the the good and the propensity for bad are in each one of us. Young Goodman Brown has a crisis of faith and temptataion. He hides his ignonimous journey from his young wife Faith, choosing to confront the devil himself. It is hard for the reader to tell for certain, however, since this might be reality and it might be some nightmarish dream.

On another level you could say the antagonist is the devil or the old crone that meets and taunts Young Goodman Brown in the midnight forest. Since Young Goodman is the protagonist, he's the character that must go on a spiritual journey and he's the one who witnesses the Black Mass in the clearing. Goodman sees that even the town's most pious and holy are there. Even his wife appears and he is spiritually defeated. The antagonist might become in this case, everyone who Goodman saw as good but had some dark and evil secrets....  

Read the study guide:
Young Goodman Brown

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question