The Inherent Tendency of Evil in Young Goodman Brown

Question: Discuss the message of Hawthorne in Young Goodman Brown. Or, How is Young Goodman Brown tempted to sin by curiosity? Discuss. Or, The inherent tendency to the evil of human nature has been depicted in the story Young Goodman Brown. Discuss. The Inherent Tendency of Evil in Young Goodman Brown


“Evil is the nature of mankind; evil must be your only happiness”. This is the central message of the allegorical story ‘Young Goodman Brown’, composed by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). Men like to engage themselves in evil missions. Evil is an inherent tendency of humans. Hawthorne’s extreme will is to show us the influence of evil over the human heart.

The curiosity of the restless mind

Man is curious by nature. He wants to know the unknown and see the unseen. Again, our heart is dominated while thinking about evil. To do something good, we never feel hesitant. But our mind becomes Oscillated while doing something evil that we find inside Young Goodman Brown. He wants to attend the meeting of the evil of his curiosity. He anticipates to Faith,

“Of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from there”

Conflict of the human heart

Goodman Brown starts his evil adventure leaving his wife, Faith. But his mission becomes full of uncertainty. His heart conflicted whether he will step forward or not. This conflict is natural in any evil mission for a pious man like Goodman Brown. Hawthorne shows the conflict of the human heart while taking something ominous.

Tendency to evil

From the curiosity of heart, people move forward to evil. At the very beginning of the story, Goodman Brown undertakes an evil mission. Through the conflict of heart, he has attended the meeting. His faith was converted to evil when he saw Goody Cloyse, Deacon Hooking, the minister, and Faith was present there. The dark figure relates,

“Welcome, Again, my child, to the communion of your race”

It proves that Goodman Brown has been converted to evil with his first step through a dense forest.

Loss of faith

Goodman Brown lost his faith in the entire sanctity. He utters,

“There is no good on earth, and sin is but a name, come devil for to thee is this world given”

He returns home after that horrible night and he avoids his wife, Faith. He believes nobody. To him, the religious rituals of Salem are sinful acts. He considers everyone a hypocrite.

Submerged in frustration

In the end, Goodman Brown becomes frustrated as he lost his faith in others and uncertain of Puritanism in which virtue is only a dream. For his own secret sins, he sees sins in others.


To conclude, it is quite clear to us that Goodman Brown is the representation of man’s insight. Through the character of Goodman Brown, Hawthorne gives the message that evil is the nature of mankind and he resists taking any evil adventure.

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S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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