Beyond these small adaptations, medieval Christian chivalry was still primarily a traditional code of honor. Knights vowed to defend their own honor and the honor of their fellow knights. If his honor, or reputation, was besmirched by an equal, a knight had a duty to retaliate. For the medieval knight, might still made right. A knight could indeed be lacking in virtue, but as long as he could defeat the man who brought to light his moral defect in “single combat,” he remained a man of honor. The story of Sir Lancelot’s adulterous relationship with King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, illustrates this; when the other knights discovered his sin, Lancelot insisted that his indiscretion didn’t exist because he was able to fight and best his accusers.
Separate from his literary production, Hawthorne wrote expansively on literary theory and criticism. His theories exemplify the Romantic spirit in American letters at mid-century. He espoused the conviction that objects can hold significance deeper than their apparent meaning, and that the symbolic nature of reality was the most fertile ground for literature. In his short stories especially, Hawthorne explored the complex system of meanings and sensations that shift in and out of a person’s consciousness. Throughout his writings, one gets a sense of darkness, if not outright pessimism. There is the sense of not fully understanding the world, of not getting the entire picture no matter how hard one tries. In a story like “Young Goodman Brown,” neither the reader nor the protagonist can distinguish reality from fantasy with any sureness.
The rhyme scheme (tracking the rhyming pattern by assigning a letter to the end of a line - each letter represents a sound) - In this poem, the first line ends with falls - so we give that line the letter A. The second line ends with calls - this rhymes with the first line, so it too has the letter A. The third line ends with brown - this is a new sound, so it gets the next letter, B. The fourth line ends with town - that rhymes with brown, so it gets the letter B. The last line in the first stanza ends with falls - so it gets the letter A.