preview

What Is Aylmer's Desire For Perfection In The Birthmark

Good Essays
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark we are able to see how Aylmer’s deep need for perfection is driven by his love for Georgiana, and how it can lead people to do crazy things without thinking about the consequences after. Aylmer’s desire to make his wife perfect is doomed to failure because perfection, Hawthorne suggests, is the exclusive province of heaven and can’t be found on earth. In fact, the very success of Aylmer’s perfection-inducing potion may cause Georgiana’s death. Because she becomes an ideal being, completely unmarred, she is no longer able to exist in this world. The desire for perfection not only kills Georgiana, it also ruins her husband because his desire to create the ideal woman becomes a fixation that…show more content…
According to the narrator, every living thing is flawed in some way, nature’s way of reminding us that every living thing eventually dies. Aylmer’s revulsion for his wife’s birthmark suggests the horror he feels at the prospect of death. He is a smart man, but his misinterpretation of the symbol on Georgiana’s face leads him astray. He mistakenly comes to believe that if he can root out this symbol of transience, it will mean that he has the power to prolong life indefinitely. Aylmer also mistakenly believes that the birthmark represents Georgiana’s moral decrepitude and spiritual flaws even though she isn’t a woman prone to sin at all. Because he has a clear point of view, we can see that Hawthorne has some lessons to teach here. In this way, “The Birthmark” is a parable; it uses a very specific situation with very specific characters to make a much broader moral point. At the end Aylmer mixes up a drink for Georgiana to take and it sends her into a deep sleep, then she wakes up by scream Aylmer’s name and then she dies. It was then that Aylmer realized what a horrible mistake he had made and he could not reverse it. The potion did make the birthmark disappear, but it also took Georgiana’s life with
Get Access