Young Goodman Brown(1835) by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story set in 17th century Puritan New England.
One morning young Goodman Brown leaves Faith (=Fede), his wife and goes into the forest. There he finds the other people living in his town: they are all going to a clearing (=un luogo senza alberi) where a ceremony is taking place. He sees also his wife : they are brought in front of an altar as they are the only two of the townspeople not yet initiated to the forest rite. It seems a black Sabbath to celebrate the devil. Goodman Brown tries to resist and everything disappears.
Back at the village the following day he does not know if he had a nightmare or if it was a real event. He loses his faith in his wife and in the whole community and starts living a solitary life …[…]”And when he had lived long, and was borne (= fu portato) to his grave (= tomba) …they carved (= scolpirono) no hopeful (= di speranza) verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom (= giudizio finale).”
The story is set during the
witch trials. Salem Hawthorne‘s great-great-grandfather John Hathorne was a judge at that time and sent many people to prison or to the scaffold (= patibolo). always felt guilty (=colpevole) for what his ancestor (= progenitore) had done. For this reason Nathaniel Hawthorn added (= aggiunse) a w to the family surname, Hathorne. Hawthorne
In his works he always tried to question (= mettere in dubbio) about the puritan belief that taught (= insegnava) that man was intrinsically evil in nature and Young Goodman Brown is an allegory about the recognition of evil and corruption of humanity.