The Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Nature of Evil

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 451
  • Published : March 20, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
The Nature of Evil
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman Brown” are literature classics. Hawthorne thoroughly portrays his main themes and ideas in these works. Both of these works illustrate the effects of evil on the human soul. Through Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman Brown” we can clearly see that evil causes people to judge other people, evil corrupts one’s faith, and that evil has the power to transform the human soul.

In “The Scarlet Letter” we see just how much evil causes people to judge others. Hawthorne effectively shows this through his character of Hester Prynne. Since Prynne committed the sin of adultery, she is forced to stand upon a scaffold in front of the whole city of Boston to be questioned and scolded. One of the townsmen said to Chillingworth, “The penalty thereof is death. But in their great mercy and tenderness of heart they have doomed Mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory and… wear a mark of shame upon her bosom.” (Hawthorne p.4) This quote shows us that the public’s opinion on Hester Prynne has now forever changed. She is forced to wear a scarlet “A” upon her bosom to let everybody know exactly what she has done. The evil she has committed has greatly affected everyone’s point of view on Hester Prynne.

Evil can harm a person in multiple ways. Another way it can harm you is by causing you to lose your faith. In Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” we see Goodman lose his faith in multiple things. He loses faith in God, in his family, and in all of the people who he associates with. While the Devil leads him into the forest, Goodman sees many familiar faces. He recognizes the faces of his wife, Faith, and he also recognizes the faces of the priests in his town. Though Goodman Brown is not sure whether it was a dream or not, he is convinced that evil is all around him. While in the forest, the Devil says, “By the sympathy of your human hearts...
tracking img