Why is the character of Goody Cloyse an important element of the story and how do Brown's feelings for her change after the witches' Sabbath?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In the story, Goody Cloyse had been young Goodman's Brown's Sunday School teacher and spiritual guide when he was young. When he sees her in the forest going to the devil's meeting, Brown is both hurt and amazed that such a" virtuous" woman would be in league with the devil. This begins to weaken the faith that he has believed in since he was a child.

Along with the Minister and Deacon Goodkin, Goody Cloyse represents the "best of the best" of Puritan society to Brown. Their piety and righteousness are models for him and when he finds they are part of the devil's parish (no pun intended) his beliefs are shattered. What Brown never reconciles is that there is both good and bad in people, even those who are supposed to be model of goodness. Interestingly enough, both Goody Cloyse and Deacon Gookin were real people, part of the Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692.



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