Rappaccini's Daughter And The Birthmark Analysis

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In Hawthorne’s stories “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark” two scientists search for scientific achievement by experimenting with nature to perfect female beauty. Each character is seeking to control nature and both bring death to someone they love with their scientific meddling. Hawthorne points out men’s scientific limitations in the quest for human perfection. The main characters Dr. Rappaccini and Aylmer are both talented scientist obsessed with perfecting the women in their lives. Dr. Rappaccini will use his daughter Beatrice with no regard for her future happiness. Aylmer marries Georgiana, but the hand-shaped birthmark on her check is an imperfection that he must remove. By removing the birthmark Aylmer is correcting an imperfection…show more content…
However, unlike Dr. Rappaccini the character Aylmer is not provided with a physical description but rather his make-up. Hawthorne explains, “A man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy, who had made experience of a spiritual affinity” (398). He believes he is capable of controlling nature with his poisons or potions to give eternal life or take it away. Eckstein claims that Aylmer is a “man that looks to science as a religious one that can provide the ultimate account of reality” (1). Aylmer like Dr. Rappaccini is driven by a desire to perfect a woman. In this short story, it is his wife Georgiana. Although Aylmer really does love his wife he can’t control his love for science. Hawthorne writes, “His love for his young wife might prove the stronger of the two; but could only be ny intertwining itself with his love of science, and uniting the strength of the latter to his own” (399). Aylmer undoubtedly loves his wife and admires her beauty at first. The birthmark like the garden possesses a charm that at first allures others to recognize the women’s beauty. But over time her one flaw the birthmark drives him to insanity which consumes him. Aylmer reassured Georgiana that he can rid her of this fatal flaw place by nature; “I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultless as its fellow; and then, most beloved, what will by my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work” (Hawthorne, 401)! He feels compelled to remove the birthmark from her wife’s cheek and only then will she be all
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