Tricks of the Devil
When Young Goodman Brown parts with his wife in the morning to go upon his journey, he has no idea as to the life changing effect it will have upon him. Although we do not know what evil lies inside his heart to draw him away from the safety of his home and wife to meet the Devil in the woods, we do know the results of this encounter. It is also known what happens to Goodman Brown on his journey, but a question arises as to the nature of these experiences. Did Goodman Brown imagine seeing his fellow townspeople in the woods at a Devilish gather? Did the Devil himself create an illusion for Brown, or were all those people truly there? From the details of Goodman Brown’s experience, it seems likely that it was an illusion created by the Devil to destroy Brown’s Faith.
Goodman Brown’s main argument to the Devil as to why he could not travel with him lies in other people. His first line of defense is his father and grandfather; how they were good Christians and that they would have never associated with the Devil. The Devil quickly dismisses this argument and tells Brown that his father and his father before him did indeed follow the same path Brown was treading. The Devil then precedes to tell of his “general acquaintance” in the area. Goodman Brown is astonished but still hesitant. It is then he comes across three people he knows who happen to be on the same path as him. Each one is an authority figure in Brown’s life with regards to being a good Christian. It is strange that Goodman Brown would happen into these three individuals instead of drunken brawlers from the tavern or Indians. It is when Goodman Brown has sat down in an attempt to resist the Devil for the second time that he thinks how, if he continues to follow this path, he could never look into the eyes of the minister or the deacon without shrinking back. Just as he thinks this, those two very men, or at least what appears to be those men, drive by on their way to the gathering. This is too coincidental. The Devil created these illusions to destroy the foundation of Goodman Brown’s belief in his religion and in the strength of the community. Through illusion, the Devil succeeded in taking away Goodman Brown’s role models and leaves him alone with just himself for guidance. At this time, Brown looks to the sky and proclaims that with his Faith, he will resist the Devil. This is where the Devil plays his ace. He drives Brown to the heart of his evil, the gathering, by turning Brown’s Faith upon him. With the illusion of hearing his wife’s voice and seeing the pink ribbon, Brown rushes to the center of it all and sees his Faith right in the middle. The Devil uses illusions to make Brown question to deepest part of himself, which lie in his Faith. After Goodman Brown witness his wife at the altar, he loses hope and Faith in man, religion, his wife, and his Faith.
The Devil tricks Goodman Brown into following his path by making him question all he believed in and causes him to lose hope. The townspeople were not in league with the Devil. The Devil used the illusions to cause Goodman Brown to give up his soul. For the Devil can only take a soul if it is given to him, and Goodman Brown loses his Faith and gives his soul to the Devil. Brown is then doomed to lead a miserable life, constantly rejecting the people around him, the ones who love him, and his own Faith.