Allegory in Young Goodman Brown Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown" is an excellent example of an allegory. Allegories use events, characters or symbolism as a bizarre or abstract representation of ideas in the story, and throughout "Young Goodman Brown", Hawthorne uses a heavy amount of symbolism, as well as his characters and the events of the story line to develop a religious allegory. A large symbolic role is played by protagonist Goodman Brown's wife, Faith. Also, the main event in the short story, Brown's journey into the forest, holds several major symbolic roles such as the traveler's staff, and the thick mass of black clouds. This essay will be exploring how Hawthorne used symbolism to achieve an allegory within his short story.…show more content…
"The Devil!" screamed the pious old lady." (Hawthorne 3) The old Puritan woman is walking through the heathen forest in prayer, and clearly acknowledges the snake staff to be that of the devil. Not only could the serpent-like staff represent the devil itself, which is also conveyed as a serpent in the Bible, but it can also convey the sly, snake-like personality of the elderly traveler, who knows just what giving the staff to Brown would do to him. In Bible, the serpent in the Garden of Eden encourages Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil". (Genesis 3:4-5) The sly character of Brown's companion resembles the sly character of the devil in the story of Adam and Eve in relation to the fall of Man. Once Adam ate of the Tree of Knowledge, sin and transgression of the law came unto Man. Likewise, the traveler knew that if Brown walked with his staff, he would no longer be blind to see the sin among his ‘Puritan' family and
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