Is evil really the nature of mankind

Is evil really the nature of mankind?

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            Man is assumed to have morals. Morality can be defined as the ability to come up with ruled and adhere to them to the letter coupled with the ability to discern right from wrong. This raises the question whether man does wrong on purpose. Is man born evil in nature? People will go to great lengths just to fulfill their personal desires even if it goes against all morality. This essay seeks to show the depravity of man as epitomized in the allegory Young Goodman Brown.

            The allegorical tale was set in the Puritan setting of the early 17th century. The writer sought to expose human depravity through the main character. Human beings hide behind masks to cover up their tracks. In modern day society people engage in all sorts of activities and use their positions, family legacy and upbringing as cover up. Goodman is a symbolic representation of this. He embarks on a journey to the witches’ meeting while he proclaims an upbringing that condemns such acts.

            The choice of diction, characters and colloquial expressions such as Faith and Young Goodman explicitly exemplify the paradoxical nature of man. During the setting of the novel, the Salem trials in which witches were executed were taking place. Man engages in practices that are biblically and morally evil. The minister, Deacon Gooking and Goody Cloyse are all involved in the cult. This exposes man’s folly evil nature since even those who are perceived as the righteous in society engage in questionable practices.

            The story explicitly exposes follies in society. It is also a means in which the writer sympathizes with the beliefs and society in the Puritan religion. The church elders in the community take part in witchcraft. The story is arguably one of the best since it ridicules as well as exposes the evil nature of man.


Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1996.

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