Who is Goodman Brown's traveling companion? What clues tell you so?

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In a moment that foreshadows the arrival of his future companion, Goodman Brown says to himself as he walks into the forest, "'What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!'" A moment later, he meets "the figure of a man" who meets him and begins to walk alongside him.

Our first clue that the man he's met is unnatural is when the man says that he was in Boston just fifteen minutes ago. The setting of this story is Salem, and it ought to take a great deal longer for a person to get from Boston to Salem; so, the fact that this man was in Boston only fifteen minutes prior is a clue that he is supernatural in origin.

Next, his staff bears "the likeness of a great black snake." The snake is often associated with the devil as a result of the story of Eve's temptation in the Garden of Eden. Further, the Puritans often referred to the devil as The Black Man. The narrator also calls this mysterious man "he of the serpent." So, his black snake staff and his association with the serpent are...

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