“Fall of the Rebel Angels” Gustave Dore

Comparison & Contrast

Young Goodman Brown & Paradise Lost: Book IV & IX

This is a short comparison of the short story “Young Goodman Brown by

Nathaniel Hawthorne and the epic “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

specifically looking at section IV and section IX. Both similarities and

contrast will be examined with scrutiny and in a deliberate examination of

their dark essence and their oddly relation to ancient teachings and

practices. Their potential meanings, and truths in relation to one another

with a glimpse of historical facts that have been hidden through the ages.

The two stories almost complete each other in an ironic method beginning

from the fall of the Angel of the Morning to his latter attempt in convincing

Young Goodman Brown as he steps unto to the wilderness.

Backgrounds (1)

To examine Young Goodman Brown, a glimpse prior to the turn of the 17th

century would be necessary. Before America was founded, Puritans has

landed in Plymouth in the 1620’s to establish their schools and universities

distancing themselves from the free-thinking, pre-renaissance Europe which

included mystics and esoteric teachings. They attempted to separate

themselves from the pockets of societies of those who continued to

celebrate pagan deities, Roman and Greek gods. A glimpse into these

teachings is noted on Book Nine of Paradise Lost mentioning Cynthera’s Son

and Celestial Patroness. (Book IX, line 18,19.)

(2). Ultimately, those same societies that were well in Europe who beheld

these teachings, would find themselves seeking a new Atlantis away from a

Fascist, dictatorial rule of the Kings of England. A dictatorial rule, that is

reminiscent in the discourse by Lucifer in Paradise lost related to Adonai.

The Puritans distaste for what they understood in the hidden societies was

the worship of the fallen angel, which is why they pushed for the executions

during the Salem trials in Massachusetts attempting the prevent the practice

to continue in the new world.

The trial of George Jacobs for witchcraft at the Essex Institute in Salem, Mass.

Hawthorne hints in Young Goodman Brown at these societies and ultimately

reveals who the hierarchy of colonist give their allegiance to when Brown

travels down the road; the road, arguably a mirror to life.

The Tree in the Forest (3)

He meets none other than the Adversary –def. of Satan- who had a strong

argument for the Young Goodman Brown. In similarity Satan begins his

excursion in creeping his way out of heaven into the luscious Garden.

Brown, finds himself starting a walk leaving his home in Salem stepping into

the darkness in a forest. The similarity of these two beginnings, are that

when Brown is walking into a forest, he walks untempted, carrying faith in

his heart. A doppelgänger to him at the time, is to how Adam has yet to

know that an Angel escaped heaven and is lurking in the trees, blessing God

and His creation. Goodman Brown noticed something particular near a tree.

Goodman Brown “beheld the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire, seated

at the foot of an old tree.” (Hawthrone pp. 377.) A tree, associated with the

origin of knowledge in the Paradise that was Lost. (Milton, Paradise Lost

book IV, L. 218.)

Temptation (4)

Another odd similarity is the temptation “Let us walk on, nevertheless,

reasoning as we go, and if I convince thee not, thou shalt turn back. We are but

a little way in the forest, yet.” (Hawthorne, pp. 378.) The usage of this word

his key to what Hawthorne was stating. In the latter years, Thomas Paine

and his dislike for Christian teachings was documented in his book “The Age

of Reason.” This was one of the impacts which help propelled the

enlightenment era in Europe and specifically the American Revolution.

Considerably, Goodman Brown’s decision not to turn back may be labeled

his fatal flaw and his reluctance to turn away and continues his walk which

will ultimately lead him to lose his beloved faith. Can it be stated that Satan

had a similar option to turn away and ask for forgiveness? An impression is

left from his inner dialogue of potential lamentation. “That bring to my

remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy Spheare; Till

Pride and worse Ambition threw me down. Warring in Heav’n against Heav’ns

matchless King.”(Book IV. L.37.) An internal battle to justify their decisions

seems to be ever present aided with doubt, nevertheless they continue on

their path. Satan’s path, started with Faith and servitude, similar to

Goodman Brown and his family started with servitude and his wife named

Faith. A resemblance, to his real faith, that frailed in his walk toward the

forest amidst a cunning, well descriptive and knowledgeable man. Paradise

lost was written in a perspective after the climax, falling in line with

most epic formats displaying the situational re-gathering of the fallen angels

where Satan maneuvers his way down to the Garden of Eden. In Paradise lost

book four, Satan has an eloquent defiance almost on an uncanny mission to

give man a separate choice walking through the earth. This can almost

transcend directly to Goodman Brown where he starts his journey and meets

the old man who is later found to be the light bearer. Lucifer, is looking to

inspire and change the thoughts of both Adam, and Goodman Brown.

Hawthorne, may have suspected a good portion of the of the leaders the

village a part of a dark organization. Goodman Brown, states, “With Heaven

above, and Faith below” (pp. 381) is oddly familiar with the societies ancient

philosophy of Hermes Trismegistus phrase, “As above, so below.”

Satan, Paradise Lost, Goodman Brown and the real World (5)

Also, Goodman Brown sees the deacon and somehow is reminiscent of in an

uncanny verbal resemblance to Grand Commander Albert Pike. He (Pike)

instructed the higher levels of the craft to know exactly who they serve and

promote. The very same Angel of Light who liberated a part of the angels

from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Hawthrone, seems to write out of factual

experience into Young Goodman Brown. “To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors

General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st,

and 30th degrees — The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the

high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine.”

(Pike. Letter to IG Councils of the World.)

Library of Congress-Albert Pike

Yes, Hawthorne was portraying an organization that he has suspected in the

worship of the great abomination, or the great liberator depending on your

source. Dr. James Billington from the Library of Congress writes candidly on

the influences that are oddly streamlined that Young Goodman Brown

notionally witnessed in the wilderness. Leaders of the community,

worshipping in secret. The liberty that was brought by the illuminated one.

The reputable Prof. at Harvard and former head of Federal Cultural

Institutions nominated by President Reagan, Proffesor James Billington

wrote “The Revolutionary faith was shaped by the occultism…”(Billington.

Fire in the Minds Of Men.” Young Goodman Brown could not have

experienced his trial without the rebellion of Lucifer. An imagery from

Milton is one of dark, philosophical resistance in his speech which seems to

be a monologue, is almost attempting to convince himself or his fellow

seraphim that his decision was worthy as he walks down the path of the

forest in similarity with the Garden of Eden. An interesting similarity

between Young Goodman Brown and Paradise lost is between the scene

where Brown is approaching the secret-secluded meeting in the

forest. Hawthorne may have been hinting at things that he might have

suspected in his societies. The sense that educated, well versed, and free

men gather in areas such as the Bohemian Grove, and The Hell Fire Club

where top leaders of the world met in secret is evident. The two stories

almost complete each other and an irony in a method of the beginning of

the fall of the Angel of the Morning to his latter attempt in convincing

the good, Young Goodman Brown.

The Centerpiece in the Meeting; Liberty (6)

The sense that freedom and knowledge sets individuals to liberty is depicted

in Goodman Brown traced back to Paradise Lost where Lucifer rebels for

freedom to give a third of the cherub’s liberty to choose in freewill. A fall, to

whereafter slithers the earth for many millennia, Satan comes across a

character by the name of Young Goodman Brown. In the occult, it is

well known who non-believers attribute whether they acknowledge or not.

“He (Satan) is the personification of atheism and idolatry.” (Levi, pp. 161).

Idolatry displayed in the ceremony in Goodman Brown and Satan’s view of

human self-deism. This is in similar fashion of the ancient Greeks who

absorbed a good part of their mysticism from the Egyptians, in particular

the act of Apotheosis. If this idolatry was occurring in the local level

in Salem, an argument can be made that it was done at a higher level.

Surely, the painting in Washington D.C. depicting General George

Washington, was named “The Apotheosis of Washington.”

Constantino Brumidi-La Rotunda-1865

In the book of Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote about how “men shall be

lovers of their ownselves, having a form of godliness, and denying the power

thereof…” (Timothy 3:2). As we know, Paul, -formally known as Saul-

became a servant of the Gospel after persecuting Christians. The complete

contrary, vis-versa and irony to Satan and Goodman Brown. Satan, a

conductor of music in heaven changes roles and defies God. “Workmanship

of thy tabrets and thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was

created.” (Ezekiel 28:13) This brings to mind the music that was heard in

Eden in Paradise Lost. “Celestial voices to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive

each to others note Singing thir great Creator: in band. While they keep watch,

or nightly rounding walk, With Heav’nly touch of instrumental sounds in full

harmonic number harmonic number joind, thir songs divide the night, and lift

our thoughts to Heaven.” (Milton 680.) The argument of Satan, as also

depicted in the book of Isaiah 14:12 gave the concept and philosophy of his

pride. Paul, wrote about this philosophy, that Goodman Brown also could

not shake in his travel into the forest. “Beware, let any man spoil you through

philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the dements of the

world, and not after Christ.” (Paul of Tarsus, Colossians 2:8)

A very interesting connection between these two stories.

Gustave Doré, illustration to Paradise Lost, book IX, 179–187