On the other hand, the unethical use of Georgiana as subject of Aylmer’s cold experiments insinuates a dishonest and threatening approach towards scientific practice. Despite, Aylmer desires to pursue his malicious experiments leading the one’s behind the page to endure an uncontrollable fear builds against the man of science.
“The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould, degrading them into kindred with the lowest, and even with the very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust” (Hawthorne 1322). The birthmark represents Georgiana’s mortality and humanity. Morality links to imperfection because that’s what being human means. Aylmer wants to make Georgiana perfect, which is impossible, but that is his goal. To make someone perfect or immortal would give Aylmer the control that he so badly yearns
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
The birthmark itself symbolizes morality. Aylmer, this brilliant scientist and husband to Georgiana, sees it has as fatal flaw. It also represents this imperfection of human nature. Nothing is perfect in nature, but science can help improve to make it seem flawless. The
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.
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
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the short story “The Birthmark” in 1843 and it is set at a time when science was an emerging field. Science at that time was unexplainable and mysterious to the common person which lead to it being referred to as magic. One of the themes that is common in Hawthorne's work is the sinful nature and impurity that is at the heart of each person. Hawthorne shows the dilemma of the flawed nature of a person and the ultimate price of perfection that will be paid.
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.
Hawthorne uses The Birth Mark as a lesson to be learned that everyone cannot be perfect. Georgiana represents the closest state to perfection that someone can get in this world; although, Aylmer is not satisfied with that. Howard states, “Aylmer feels that the mark may render him unnecessary to Georgiana.(135) He wishes that Georgiana could be absolutely perfect in every way, but little does he know that a perfect person cannot live in an imperfect world. Georgiana’s birth mark is now removed and she will be cleaned of all of her sins because now she can be
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.
On the top of page 768, Georgiana describes the birthmark as “a stain that goes as deep as life itself” and as “a little Hand which was laid upon her before she came into the world”. This is the final piece of evidence that shows what Hawthorne intended the birthmark to represent. It is the mark that every human being has and it is not something that one can obtain, but it is instead the inherent trait of
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
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.
Alymer’s perception of the symbolism of the birthmark is revealed right after Georgiana’s thoughts were given. “You came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature, that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne 212). Aylmer thought that the birthmark symbolized the imperfection of earthly things. His view was elaborated on later in the story “selecting it as the symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (Hawthorne 213). In addition to Aylmer’s view of the birthmark as a mark of earthly imperfection, he also thought of it as a symbol for his wife’s inevitable fall from near perfection as she ages. The reason for Georgiana’s view was explained when the narrator began describing the birthmark’s resemblance to a hand and her lovers’ perception of it “Georgiana’s lovers were wont to say that some fairy at her birth-hour had laid her tiny hand upon the infant’s cheek, and left this impress there in token of the magic endowments that were to give her such sway over all hearts” (Hawthorne 213). The attitude of reverence that Georgiana’s lovers took toward her birthmark influenced her into believing that it was a charm. It turns out that her lovers weren’t that far from the truth as revealed at the end of the story. Aylmer finally achieved his goal of removing his wife’s
My favorite part of the short story was the ending. It occured to the reader that humanity cannot survive with perfection so Georginana had to die. The first time that I read the story I did not really read into exactly why Georgiana died, I believed that it could have been the medication that Aylmer reacted with Georgiana’s skin and killed her but the second time that I read the story the real reason appeared to me. I also admired how Hawthorne developed his characters. In the beginning Aylmer was a scientist that only cared about his experiments, then he fell in love and stopped his scientific work, but then he found a reason to continue his scientific work which led to the death of his wife. At the end of the story Aylmer regretted pressuring his wife to change herself and feels remorseful for what he did.