The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne: Critical Analysis

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The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne is centered around Aylmer, a mad scientist, and the birthmark on his wife’s, Georgiana, face. His obsession with perfection drives him to create an elixir that ends up serving its purpose and more. However, this story is actually about Aylmers attempt to use science to create the perfect human being, one lacking sin. Hawthorne implies this throughout the story by hinting towards the ideas that the birthmark on Georgiana’s face is really the embodiment of human sin and that Georgiana is, in reality, an angel. “No Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature, that this slightest possible defect shocks me (Hawthorne, 765).
This line planted the idea in my head that the birthmark represented sin, but I did not
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But the deeper went the knife, the deeper sank the Hand, until at length its tiny grasp appeared to have caught hold of Georgiana’s heart; whence, however, her husband was innexorably resolved to cut or wrench it away” (Hawthorne, 767). In the dream, Hawthorne depicts the hand shaped birthmark as a deep rooted and intertwined with Georgiana’s heart. If the birthmark represented sin, this would make a lot more sense. Sin has the grasp of Georgiana’s heart, which I interpret as a symbol for humanity, and Aylmer had no choice but to remove it. To make her perfect, he had to remove the only thing that made her human, but what kept her human was the only thing keeping her mortal-self alive.
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
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