Hawthornes\'s Young Goodman Brown And Rappacini\'s Daughter: Solicited by the Devil


In Puritan Massachusetts the key word was suspicion. In order to be accepted, by
the community, you had to be a member of the "elect," destined for a spot in the
eternity of heaven. In order to be member of this elite group of "selected"
individuals you had to be free of sin and evil. It goes without saying, that you
could never be caught conjuring the devil, as is illustrated by the horrors of
the infamous Salem witch trials. In Young Goodman Brown, and Rappacini\'s
Daughter Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays two different ways of soliciting or being
solicited by the devil. The final scenes in both of these stories although
similar in nature, are actually conflicting in essence, and show the two adverse
ways in which people and evil can become one.

In Young Goodman Brown, the protagonist, Goodman Brown goes off on a typical
search for the devil. The devil is associated with darkness and terror, a
creature only to be sought after while enveloped in the darkness of the night.
As Goodman Brown himself replies to Faith\'s longing for him to wait until
morning to embark on his journey, "My journey needst be done twixt now and
sunrise" (611). Goodman Brown knows exactly what he is going to look for, he is
searching for evil. He goes to the forest to do his deed and "he had taken a
dreary road darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" to get there(611).
Goodman Brown is willingly seeking the devil, and Hawthorne is throwing in all
the stereotypes. This entire search for the devil is portrayed as being very
ugly. What then is pretty? In Young Goodman Brown beauty equals inherent
goodness, or Faith. Young Goodman Brown separates from this righteousness, for
evil. From the beginning, he was leaving, at least for the time being, Faith
behind. "And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into
the street, letting the wind play with the soft ribbons of her cap" (610). The
beauty of faith and her pink ribbons are left behind, his intentions are obvious.


In Rappacini\'s Daughter Giovanni does none of this. He never went out searching
for the devil, all he wanted to do was study in Padua. The devil was not obvious
to Giovanni, it went after him, and he did not even know it. Giovanni\'s first
glimpse of the "devil\'s lair" is considerably different of that of Goodman Brown.
Instead of a dreary, dark forest, Giovanni saw Eden. "Water which continued to
gush and sparkle into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever. A little gurgling
sound ascended to the young man\'s window, and made him feel as if the fountain
were an immortal spirit that sung its song unceasingly and without heeding the
vicissitudes around it." (628). Instead of his first human encounter being with
a devilish man with slithering snake on his staff, Giovanni met the beautiful
Beatrice (614). Beatrice was as beautiful as the devil was ugly. Giovanni
glanced into the garden and "Soon there emerged from under a sculptured portal
the figure of a young girl, arrayed with as much richness of taste as the most
splendid of flowers, beautiful as the day, and with a bloom so deep and vivid
that one shade more would have been too much. She looked redundant with life,
health, and energy" (629). In Rappacini\'s Daughter instead of beauty equaling
faith, it equals the Devil, or the evil that Beatrice really represented. This
is not as clear cut as Young Goodman Brown. There in order to "be with the
devil" you had to go searching for him/her. In Rappacini\'s Daughter, however,
the Devil came to Giovanni. Furthermore he came in the form of a beautiful
woman...a frightening concept.

Young Goodman Brown is told in the first person narrative. It is therefore from
one persons point of view. It is a warning of what could happen to you if you
stray from probity, and your moral ideals. All the decisions were clearly made
by Brown himself, and his plight can be avoided. Rappacini\'s Daughter, however,
is told in the a third person narrative. It is not from one person\'s point of
view, it is a universal problem which has consequences for the entire human race.
The devil does not always look as he is supposed to, and is not easily
recognizable. He can enthrall you with splendor, rather than trap you with
terror . The devil can get you anyway he wants,