In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "Young Goodman Brown," the reader is introduced to a young man who has made a conscious decision to go into the forest to meet with Satan. Most critical analysis of this short story finds that there are a lot of references to the period of time around the Salem Witch Trials and the way New Englanders lived after this period. During a period of serious religious Puritanism Hawthorne conveys Young Goodman Brown as a Salem dwelling, religious man, after meeting with the Devil, Young Goodman Brown undergoes a dynamic character change and through the use of symbolism Hawthorne shows the downfall of Young Goodman Brown as he begins see the evil in some of the people he admired most, leading to the demise of his happiness. Hawthorne shows through the description of events, with the forest at night as a creepy setting, and also thoughts that Young Goodman Brown is experiencing, that evil is surrounding him. Hawthorne plays with the Puritan views shared by the people of Salem, creating an allegorical meaning in the text. Even the people Young Goodman Brown once trusted, such as his church minister, local deacon and ultimately his wife Faith, like him, are present at the climax of the story, and are shown as to be conspiring with the devil. .
To begin with, Hawthorne introduces the reader to Young Goodman Brown; he is a young religious man living with his wife Faith in Salem Massachusetts, as Young Goodman Brown ventures deeper into the forest, he starts to see the evil in people he admired. Young Goodman Brown has decided much to the angst of his wife, to go into the forest to carry out an evil journey. Young Goodman Brown departs his wife and heads into the forest, in the dark of night, knowing that he is about to go forth "on his present evil purpose" (pg. 21). Young Goodman Brown knew that there was an evil purpose to his journey but decides to go because he is curious.