Nobody is perfect and no one ever will be. This theme shows up often in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, The Birthmark. In this story, a scientist named Aylmer becomes obsessed with removing a hand-shaped birthmark from his wife’s, Georgiana, visage. After a series of tests, he is successful, but Georgiana becomes perfect and can no longer stay in the mortal world, so she dies. The Birthmark demonstrates how foolish it is to strive for perfection and this is revealed throughout the story using narration.
The short story “The Birthmark”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, plunges the readers into the dramatic atmosphere of scientific endeavors. A multitude of emotions arise as the protagonist, a prominent scientist, wishes to remove a birthmark appearing on the cheek of his lovely wife. However, Georgiana seems to disagree with the venture, as readers feel she is seriously threaten by the removal of her birthmark, which could be seen as the impurity among her gorgeousness. The presence of science in the story releases an element anxiousness as it is portrayed somewhat threatening for the readers. Multiple elements of the story sustain the anxious viewpoint of science as readers endure a vast range of negative emotions. Firstly, Aylmer’s inhospitable
Equally Aylmer and Dr. Rappiccini, both characters in Hawthorne’s works causes destruction of human life with selfish aims to perfect the woman of their choice. In the case of Aylmer’s love interest in science, just as with the case of Beatrice’s father, blinds him to the true beauty and humanity of the woman before him. Aylmer views Georgiana’s birthmark as a symbol of imperfection and tries to remove it. At the end of the story, Georgiana say, "My poor Aylmer," she repeated, with a more than human tenderness, "you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying" (Hawthorne 350). Unfortunately, the cost of getting rid of the birthmark was connected to her heart and the dangerousness was not understood until it was too
In “The Birthmark”, Aylmer is bothered in seeing a birthmark on his wife Georgiana’s cheek. I believe that Aylmer was truly evil in the way he manipulated Georgiana in thinking he truly cared about her. Aylmer’s ideas of perfection were the most dangerous thing about him and even led him to kill.
In the short story “The Birthmark”, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about a scientist, his wife, and the unhealthy relationship they share. The story follows Aylmer, a scientist, who is determined to remove his wife Georgiana’s birthmark. One aspect of their unhealthy relationship is Georgiana’s sole dependance on Aylmer. Furthermore, Aylmer does not view Georgiana as his equal. Not only this, but Aylmer frequently belittles her, continuously pointing out her flaws, which drives her to do something dangerous. Georgiana’s dependance on Aylmer, the inequality of the relationship and Aylmer’s disregard for her feelings, are the main ingredients of Aylmer and Georgiana’s unhealthy relationship.
In “The Birthmark” Nathaniel Hawthorne gives us a story that is telling us on some level to accept your own, as well as other people's imperfections or it could destroy not only your relationship with them, but also your relationship with yourself. In this story Hawthorne uses symbolism to show us exactly how this kind of behavior can lead to not just ruining relationships, but in this case even death. In “The Birthmark” Hawthorne uses a wide variety of objects and people such as a withering flower, a birthmark, poison, Aylmer's dream and Georgiana's death, and even a character named Aminidab to symbolize that nobody is in fact perfect and we all must accept each others flaws in order to have good and healthy relationships.
The true essence of “The Birthmark” is infiltrated through the hidden structure of the strength of a woman. As we unpack the passion behind the obsession that Aylmer presents with his genius in science, on the surface, one may recognize his obscenity and categorize it as a reflection of masculine control. Though, this is in fact true, what strikes as an unbeknownst strength is the hidden sacrifice that Georgiana represents as she succumbs to her spouse and his desire to make her “perfect”. As Hawthorne structures this sacrifice as a mere testament of how women of the late 1700’s - 1800’s valued the perspective of their spouse, it is necessary to extract how this act of selflessness attributes to the amount of love and respect Georgiana has for
Which leads him to the point of using science to remove the birth mark. Aylmer’s obsession of removing the birth mark led to the death of his wife, Georgina. Hawthorne uses Aylmer to present a common issue that individuals have. Furthermore, each scholar help better understand the theme of obsession and achieving a goal that leads individuals to a path of negativity because of individuals’ foolishness to achieve perfection, science vs naturality, and mental isolation.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birth Mark” shows readers the foolishness and selfishness of trying to create a perfect being and defying our creator. Nathaniel shows an example of this act by publishing this story of Aylmer and his non-perfect wife, who has a birth mark in the shape of a hand on her cheek. Aylmer is so disgusted with this mark that he soon begins to use science to take care of the problem. Throughout “The Birth Mark” Hawthorne performs different symbols that indicate Aylmer is just a human being and challenging God to make a perfect human will always lead to death.
From the very first paragraph, Hawthorne’s story revolves around Aylmer, a scientist who supposedly gives up his career to marry the beautiful woman of his dreams, Georgiana.
“‘Noblest dearest, tenderest wife,’ cried Aylmer, rapturously, “doubt not my power. I have already given this matter the deepest thought --- thought which might almost have enlightened me to create a being less perfect than yourself.” “I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultless as its fellow; and then, most beloved, what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!” The story takes these two opposing symbols and creates the theme of Nature versus action against nature. “Man playing God,” is a common example, and in this story, Aylmer tries to remove the birthmark. Aylmer is trying to change something that Nature has produced, and in most cases, man loses when playing God. The birthmark fades as the wife dies. Hawthorne wrote a story injected with symbols about the dangers of symbols. Why would he do that? Examples are often times the best ways to teach and learn. The reader can examine the symbols in the story and understand that they are following the same path. “The Birthmark” is a complicated read, but it is a story that can be analyzed and used in
Everyone comes across something in their life that speaks to them--a symbol as it will be called. In the book, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are many symbols, but there is one that really stands out above the rest, and that is the mark on Dimmesdale’s chest. The Scarlet Letter’s primary focus is on the life of Hester Prynne, who had an affair with someone and was accused of the crime and forced to wear a scarlet letter A for the rest of her life. The mark on Arthur Dimmesdale’s chest (although it was never truly stated what the mark actually was) can be seen as guilt in physical form which slowly begins to show over time.
Georgiana took note of Aylmer’s displeasure of the birthmark from the dream and through his stealthy stare, causing Georgina displeasure (Nathaniel Hawthorne 114). Aylmer’s further loathing of the birthmark, causes Georgiana to give up for the sake of his happiness. She tells, Aylmer after bringing up the conversation of the birthmark, “Either remove this dreadful hand, or take my wretched life!” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 114). Aylmer could have avoided tragedy, however he failed to listen to his assistant Aminadab, who stated he would “never part with that birthmark” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 114). Later on Aylmer would come to understand how connected the birthmark was to Georgiana, just as Aminadab had understood earlier. Selfish and blinded by his obsession he continues the course of removing the birthmark costing Georgiana her
The hand serves as the image of mankind. Aylmer sees his wife’s birthmark as “the symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (2). The way he views the mark on her cheek serves as a reminder that death is inevitable for both him and Georgiana. It contrasts Aylmer’s idea of achieving perfection through science and it disturbs him. When Aylmer dreams of removing Georgiana’s birthmark, he sees that the hand’s “tiny grasp appeared to have caught hold of Georgiana’s heart; whence, however her husband was inexorably resolved to cut or wrench it away,” (3). It shows that our flaws make up a large part of who we are which make it very difficult to separate the two. To remove it would only result in failure. Aylmer finally is able to remove “the last crimson tint of the birthmark -- that sole token of human imperfection” (13). The mark shows that people are inherently imperfect and it’s what makes us human. Once Aylmer removes that imperfection, Georgiana dies because it is impossible to obtain perfection as a person. The mark represents mankind’s
Many authors in American literature tend to use common themes or outcomes in their writings that can or cannot pertain to real life experiences. Hopefully not many times in ones life does someone hear about a person being murdered solely because of his or her imperfections; however, this outcome seems to be very common in two of our famous writer’s short stories. In both Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Birthmark” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell Tale Heart,” both of the main characters develop such an unnecessary, obsessive hatred with someone’s imperfection that they go to ultimate measures to eliminate them forever. When comparing these two short stories, it is evident to see how both of these themes are concentrated around the idea that one physical imperfection can be a mark of moral shortcoming.