"Young Goodman Brown" is a story of good and evil at their most extreme. Okay, so it's not quite Lord of the Rings. But the life of one man can be an epic struggle between good and evil, even without elves or orcs or flaming catapults. (And there are flaming trees.) Young Goodman Brown faces some real devils, but also has to face his own devilish side—his temptations, his anger, his family's history of cruelty. It's an internal battle of good and evil, and one of epic proportions. In some ways, Frodo and friends had it much easier.
In this story, Hawthorne shows that human nature is a mixture of good and evil by creating an everyman character—young Goodman Brown—who has both good and evil thoughts.
By turning away from his community, young Goodman Brown unknowingly embraces the evils of insensitivity and selfishness.