Devil’s Presence in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Introduction

The Devil’s presence can be often seen in a variety of pieces of literature along with pieces of art such as films, songs, paintings, etc. Different descriptions of this mysterious and horrifying person are shown in those pieces of literature and art. In the following paper, the Devil’s presence in the short story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne will be discussed in parallel with the other cases of the Devil’s presence in different pieces of art. Overall, the evaluation of different pieces of literature and art shows that there are many parallels between all of them when they depict the Devil’s personality and actions.

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Main body

The Devil’s presence in “Young Goodman Brown” and the parallels it has in the other pieces of art

First of all, speaking about the Devil’s presence in the short story “Young Goodman Brown”, it should be stated that it is remarkable in this piece of literature. The Devil appears in the story as one of the main characters, and his actions are central to understanding the changes happening inside the main protagonist’s soul. The main character, Goodman Brown, is somehow attracted to the Devil’s personality, he wants to meet him, and for this reason, he leaves for an overnight errand (Hawthorne 127). Goodman Brown meets the Devil to receive something unknown from him. This is a very strange thing as everybody knows that having some business with the Devil is very dangerous, but they still do this. This intriguing idea is also shown in many other pieces of literature and art. In this paper, two more of them will be addressed including the movie “The Devil’s Advocate” by Taylor Hackford and the song “Sympathy for The Devil” by The Rolling Stones written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Both of these pieces of art have a remarkable parallel with the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. All of them show the Devil as having something attractive for men to have. The film “The Devil’s Advocate” shows the Devil as a mighty person able to offer any person every material benefit that he or she may want (Maslin par.7). However, the Devil never does such things for no purpose as he will always ask for something very important in return. A similar idea is shown in Mick Jagger’s song “Sympathy for The Devil”. The song has an unusual concept as Mick Jagger himself is shown as the Devil in it. He sings on his behalf to inform the audience about his mysterious personality. In the very first lines of the song, the author states: “I’m a man of wealth and taste” (Jagger and Richards par.2). Again, it becomes evident that the Devil has a lot to offer to those who will decide to have a deal with him. Similar ideas were also shown in the two above-mentioned pieces. Then, the song says, “But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game” (Jagger and Richards par.25). Here, it is shown that the Devil’s game has a puzzling or bad nature. Although the song does not offer specific details about this puzzling nature, it does offer some hints concerning this. Again, these hints suggest that the Devil will ask a lot for his services. As a result of the comparison of these three pieces, it became evident that the Devil’s presence in any piece of art is connected to some incredible offerings that the Devil has for people, and to his terrible goals concerning taking big wages for his services.

The Devil always takes something very important as wages for his service

Further, when the Devil is shown in different pieces of literature and art the other idea appears to be common as well. In particular, the Devil is depicted as the person robbing people of their spiritual values which results in their literal corruption. This is well seen in “Young Goodman Brown”. The main protagonist appears as a religious and righteous person at the beginning of the story. He is full of chastity and integrity as one of his main qualities. However, meeting the Devil, this person becomes corrupted morally. He loses his spiritual values, he feels pain inside his soul, and he becomes discontent with his further life (Hawthorne 128). Thus, we see Goodman Brown as a victim of the Devil who suffered great losses both spiritual and physical on the reason for his decision to have some business with the Devil. A similar situation is shown in the movie “The Devil’s Advocate”. The main protagonist pays for the great success given by the Devil for his soul. The Devil’s wages are simply terrible. His beloved wife whom he considers to be the most important thing in his life suffers from demonic attacks and becomes mad for this reason (Maslin par.18). Her life becomes an endless horror and pain. This is the wages for the Devil. A similar idea is shown in the song “Sympathy for The Devil” by the Rolling Stones. The song’s lines explain:

Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a general rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank (Jagger and Richards par.32-36).

These lines show what happens when the Devil wants to take his wages. He is a bloodthirsty person with a desire to cause pain and bring destruction to those who sold themselves to him. This is a primary characteristic of the Devil’s presence as his main qualities are wickedness, bloodlines, and hatred. Again, comparing different pieces of art it appears that the Devil is often shown as the one who will always take terrible wages for his services, and will enjoy destructing spirituality and physical well-being of his victims.

Different pieces of art and literature represent the Devil as an utterly cruel person who desires to alienate people from God

Finally, different pieces of art and literature represent the Devil as an utterly cruel person who desires to alienate people from God. In “Young Goodman Brown”, the Devil wanted to take the faith of the main protagonist, and, thus, alienate him from God. Similar intentions the Devil had in the film “The Devil’s Advocate” as he needed to alienate the main protagonist from God because his personality was important for the accomplishment of his goals. In the song “Sympathy for The Devil”, the same purpose that the Devil has concerning men is shown. As a result, the presence of the Devil in many pieces of literature and art is connected to his primary purpose of alienating humanity from God.

Conclusion

Concluding on all the above-discussed information, it appears that the Devil’s presence is very common in a variety of pieces of literature and art including movies, cartoons, songs, and even paintings. As a rule, the Devil is depicted similarly by many authors. His special features are the ability to attract people’s attention by some valuable offering, and the desire to take huge wages for his services. The Devil is also depicted as a person of one primary purpose which is in alienating men from God.

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Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, et al. Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays. The UK: Longman, 2010. Print.

Jagger, Mick, and Keith Richards. 1968. Sympathy for The Devil. Web. 2012.

Maslin, Janet. 1997. The Devil’s Advocate. Web.

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Premium Papers. (2022) 'Devil’s Presence in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne'. 1 February.

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Premium Papers. 2022. "Devil’s Presence in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne." February 1, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/devils-presence-in-young-goodman-brown-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/.

1. Premium Papers. "Devil’s Presence in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne." February 1, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/devils-presence-in-young-goodman-brown-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/.


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Premium Papers. "Devil’s Presence in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne." February 1, 2022. https://premium-papers.com/devils-presence-in-young-goodman-brown-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/.