Goodman Brown

A young resident of Salem and the story’s protagonist. Goodman Brown is a good Christian who has recently married Faith. He takes pride in his family’s history of piety and their reputation in the community as godly men. His curiosity, however, leads him to accept an invitation from a mysterious traveler to observe an evil ceremony in middle of the forest, one that shocks and disillusions him.

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Goodman Brown’s wife. Faith is young, beautiful, and trusting, and Goodman Brown sees her as the embodiment of virtue. Although Goodman Brown initially ignores Faith’s claims to have had disturbing nightmares, seeing her at the evil ceremony in the forest prompts him to question his wife’s righteousness.

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The Old Man/Devil

The man, possibly the devil, who tempts Goodman Brown into attending the ceremony in the forest. The man intercepts Goodman Brown in the middle of the dark road, then presides over the ceremony. He sees through the Salem villagers’ charade of Christian piety and prides himself on the godly men he has been able to turn to evil.

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Goody Cloyse

A citizen of Salem Village who reveals herself to be a witch. Goody Cloyse is a Christian woman who helps young people learn the Bible, but in secret she performs magic ceremonies and attends witch meetings in the forest. Goody Cloyse was the name of an actual woman who was tried and convicted of witchcraft during the historical Salem Witch Trials of 1692; Hawthorne borrows her name for this character.

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The Minister

The minister of Salem. The minister, a respectable pillar of the community, appears to be a follower of the devil.

Deacon Gookin

A member of the clergy in Salem who appears to be a follower of the devil. The deacon is an important man in the church of Salem, and Goodman Brown thinks of him as very religious.

Goodman Brown’s Father

Goodman Brown’s father was a man who, appearing to his community as a morally upstanding person, actually engaged with the devil. During King Philip’s War, he intentionally set fire to an Indian village. Goodman Brown sees the ghost of his father, beckoning him to join the darkness, at the devil’s ceremony.

Goodman Brown’s Mother

Goodman Brown’s mother appears as an apparition alongside her husband at the devil’s ceremony. With an air of despair about her, she seems to beg her son to resist the pull of evil.

Goodman Brown’s Grandfather

Goodman Brown’s grandfather does not directly appear in the story, although the devil makes it clear that they were quite familiar with one another. The devil explains that Goodman Brown’s grandfather beat a Quaker woman in the streets of Salem.