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The Nature of Evil in Young Goodman BrownIn Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the tale of a man and his discovery of evil Hawthornes primary concern is with evil and how it affects Young Goodman Brown Through the use of tone and setting Hawthorne portrays the nature of evil and the psychological effects it can have on man He shows how discovering the existence of evil brings Brown to view the world in a cynical way Brown learns the nature of evil and therefore feels surrounded by its presence constantly Hawthorne creates a serious and somber tone throughout much of the story From the start the audience gets a sense that Brown will go through relentless agony from the devilish stranger His diction in the opening paragraphs is a good indicator of this He uses words such as melancholy evil dreary and grave to evoke a certain mood in the reader There is little relief from this seriousness that would suggest that Hawthornes attitude about the story be hopeful Browns attitude and actions portray a negative view of Salem and its people He ponders the hypocrisy of the town as well as that of the Puritans He examines the possibility that evil and corruption exist in a town that is supposedly characterized by piety and devout faith The story is set in seventeenth-century Salem a time and place where sin and evil were greatly analyzed and feared The townspeople in their Puritan beliefs were obsessed with the nature of sin and with finding ways to be rid of it altogether through purification of the soul At times people were thought to be possessed by the devil and to practice witchcraft As punishment for these crimes some were subjected to torturous acts or even horrible deaths Thus Hawthornes choice of setting is instrumental in the development of themeHe uses contrast as a means to portray the village as good and the forest as bad This
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