Women In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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Submissive Women Women, for the longest time, have been under men in the social hierarchy, society, and in politics. Even now, it is thought that women are under men in certain circumstances, but in the 19th century it was very different from now. “The Birthmark” shows a good example of how women were thought of back then. Georgiana, wife to Aylmer, is that example. Based on 19th century standards, Georgiana is the exemplar of a successful wife, based on her obsequiousness. Everybody believed that women were naturally weaker than men in the 19th century, but morally stronger. According to professional medical theories at the time, women were naturally sick while men were robust, aggressive, and healthy (Hartman). In “The Birthmark”, Aylmer states that “‘No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term it a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection’” (Hawthorne 1). Georgiana had a red birthmark on her cheek that her husband thought was imperfect and should be removed, despite women being known for health problems. He could have dismissed the mark as part of her being a woman, but he did not and instead tried to…show more content…
Hawthorne has presented many female characters who have been brought to submission by men or are destroyed by male power (Eaton). Georgiana says, “‘I submit...I shall quaff whatever draught you bring me…” (Hawthorne 8). She is obviously not a rebel and instead a good wife from Hawthorne’s time. Georgiana does not have much of a choice when Aylmer wants to remove her birthmark. She was literally destroyed by the hands of her husband. By removing the mark he killed her. He thought she was so perfect with it off, but since perfection can never be achieved in dark romanticism, she

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