Georgiana's Birthmark Symbolism

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Georgiana’s birthmark represents her grasp on humanity as shown in its shape as a hand. The hand symbolizes humanity’s role in nature and the continuous struggle between nature and science. Georgiana is someone who Aylmer sees as created “nearly perfect from the hand of Nature” (Hawthorne 1). Her birthmark is an imprint left by nature and is representative of humanity’s ties to it. Altering nature isn’t something that humans should be able to do because it is more powerful than any creation made by man. Aylmer believes that he can correct “what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!” (4). Aylmer, who stands as a symbol for science, obsessively seeks to remove Georgiana’s birthmark and make her ideal. When mankind attempts to change nature in the pursuit of perfection, it never ends well as seen in Aylmer’s attempts at…show more content…
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
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