Comparing Beauty In Rappaccini's Daughter And The Birthmark

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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. Hawthorne uses the characters Dr. Rappaccini and Aylmer to emphasis the theme of science verses nature. Each character is seeking to control nature and both bring death to someone they love with their scientific meddling. In “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Dr. Rappaccini is described in contrast to the setting of the stunning garden in which he grows. Hawthorne writes, “His figure soon emerged into view, and showed itself to be that of no common laborer, but a tall, emaciated, sallow, and sickly looking man, dressed in a scholar’s garb of black (2). Dr. Rappaccini is further described…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” (Meyer, 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 religion one that can provide the ultimate account of reality” (1). Aylmer Like Dr. Rappaccini is driven by desire to prefect 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” (Meyer, 399). Aylmer undoubtedly loves his wife and admires her beauty at first. The birthmark like the garden possess a charm that at first allures others to recognize the women’s beauty. But overtime her one flaw the birthmark drives him to insanity which consumes him. This is very different from the character of Dr. Rappacinni who never really shows any love towards his daughter. Aylmer reassures 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” (Meyer, 401)! He feels compelled to remove the birthmark from her wife’s cheek and only then will she be all
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