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.
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.
Read an in-depth analysis of Faith.
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.
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.
The minister of Salem. The minister, a respectable pillar of the community, appears to be a follower of the devil.
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.