The Evil That Men Do
The story Young Goodman Brown is one that examines the true disposition of mankind. In the story, the devil declares that Evil is the nature of mankind. However, there are many other elements in the story that point to the authors belief in this statement. From the moment Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, and throughout the rest of the narrative, we are shown that evil prevails in all people.
Our first look into the true character of man is when it is revealed that Goodman Brown is making a journey for an evil purpose. Instead of staying at home with his new wife, he opts to continue with his plans, even though he knows they are wrong. The fact that he knows what he is about to do is wrong is pointed out to us many times, yet he still makes his way into the forest. This is consistent with the belief that people are drawn towards evil.
Later in the story, after he meets with the stranger, we are told that the stranger knew his father and grandfather well, and that he accompanied them as they carried out evil deeds. What is significant about this information is that Goodman Brown believed himself to be the first of his family to stray from the Christian values he had been taught. Through this, we learn that even though we are taught what is right, evil is what comes naturally to us, or is even what is inherited from our ancestors.
The event in the story that fully shows that evil is part of the nature of the human race is the meeting of the witches and warlocks that was held in the forest. The meeting is not of as much importance as is the people who are attending the meeting. Goodman Brown recognizes many of the people he attends church with, as well as the deacon and the pastor of the church. He knows many of them as good, God fearing, religious people. Yet underneath their Christian front, he discovers them to be in league with the devil himself. This recognition serves as the point of the story. It shows that no matter how good a person seems to be on the surface, their soul is just like everyone elses, and contained within the soul, is the true nature of mankind, evil.