The role evil, guilt, and hallucination play in the two short stories - Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
In this paper, I am going to discuss the role of evil, guilt and hallucination potrayed in the two short fictional stories, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
Young Goodman Brown,' by Hawthorne, and 'The Tell Tale Heart,' by Poe, offer readers the chance to embark on figurative and literal journeys, through our minds and our hearts. Hawthorne is interested in developing a sense of guilt in his story, an allegory warning against losing one's faith. The point of view and the shift in point of view are symbolic of the darkening, increasingly isolated heart of the main character, Goodman Brown, an everyman figure in an everyman tale. (Bloom, Harold Pp. 13)
Poe, however, is concerned with capturing a sense of dread in his work, taking a look at the motivations behind the perverseness of human nature. Identifying and understanding the point of view is essential, since it affects a reader's relationship to the protagonist, but also offers perspective in situations where characters are blinded and deceived by their own faults. The main character of Poe?s story embarks on an emotional roller coaster, experiencing everything from terror to triumph. Both authors offer an interpretation of the evil forces. “Young Goodman Brown” is a moral allegory. In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorn uses light and darkness to emphasize good and evil in the world. Essentially, an allegory is an extended metaphor — using one thing to represent another — a story with dual meanings. Therefore, there is a surface or literal meaning as well as a secondary meaning. In other words, Hawthorne uses this moral allegory to reveal a moral lesson or lessons. Just in the first line, Poe creates suspense by repeating the word 'very' and admits that he has been 'dreadfully nervous'. This instantly makes the reader think why he is so and the fact that he tries to prove his innocence against being mad makes the reader believe that he or she has done something badly wrong. Next, he states that he has a disease, 'the disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them.' No one knows anything about what the narrator has done yet he protests against the fact that he is evil. 'How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.' Again he tries to prove that he is not mad by telling the story calmly. The narrator himself knows that he has done something wrong and obviously has a guilty conscious.
At the beginning of the narrator telling the story we see that the narrator knows that the audience see him as mad, and we do. He states that madmen know nothing. 'You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to ...