Examples Of Tragic Flaws In The Birthmark

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When in the course of events that things go awry, it is human nature to find a person or thing in which to blame for the downfall. The responsibility of the tragedy may be a single person, or a group of people. In the short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the responsibility of the resulting tragedy is split equally between Aylmer and Georgiana.
In order to determine why both Georgiana and Aylmer are at fault for the tragedy, there must be an understanding of what a tragic flaw is. A tragic flaw is a characteristic or trait a character possesses which leads to his or her downfall. Tragic flaws were introduced by Aristotle, using the term “harmantia” which roughly translates to “to err.” The term came to be due to a hero in one of Aristotle’s work being brought down by an “error of judgement.” Aristotle introduced the usage of tragic flaws to teach a moral and influence the audience to become better people (“Tragic Flaw”(Literarydevices.com)). Some common tragic flaws from Aristotle’s time period include …show more content…

He focuses on how wonderful and triumphant he will be once he has created the first perfect human being that he seemingly forgets that there is a great deal of danger and even the risk of death in removing Georgiana’s birthmark. Aylmer voices this prideful desire in the story, saying “‘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! Even Pygmalion, when his sculptured woman assumed life, felt not greater ecstasy than mine will be’” (Hawthorne 3). In this quote we see that he has no doubt about performing the surgery, and hints that he even looks forward to performing it so that his wife may become perfect. He is also very prideful that he will become the first person to have defied nature in creating a perfect being- a feat he has not yet

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