Duality of Character in Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” and in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The House of Usher,” there are main characters who have several characteristics in common. The main character in Hawthorne’s story possesses a duality of character and undergoes a life-changing experience. The title character in Poe’s story has a similar duality of character; he, too, undergoes a transformational experience that may be seen as representing duality of character as well. Both stories have a dreamlike quality that adds to the atmosphere of the story; it also leads the reader to question whether the events have actually occurred, or if they were somehow the products of a hallucination or dream state, perhaps even supernatural in nature.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story, “Young Goodman Brown,” the title character is a young, newly married Christian man who lives in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1800s. At the beginning of the story he leaves his wife, Faith, home as he goes off to travel at night. Faith is worried and tells her husband this, explaining that she feels troubled. This provides a sense of foreshadowing to the story, preparing the reader for what it to come (Harmon
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