The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

1795 Words Oct 22nd, 2015 8 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark” follows a husbands desire to have the perfect wife. Following newlyweds, Aylmer and Georgiana, the reader learns of Aylmer’s constant desire to remove a birthmark off his wife’s face. This birthmark draws much attention to Georgiana which Aylmer finds uncomfortable. In striving for perfection, these two characters are willing to risk death. In doing so, the story relies on setting, genre, characterization, symbolism, and foreshadowing to help establish the overall theme: mortality.
“The Birthmark” is set in the late 1700s, a time period when science was blooming and women were seen as inferiors. This was also the start of Romanticism. Romanticism is a time period where many intellectual people were engaged in studying the beauty of nature. Hawthorne sets this story following a scientist in order to play upon science versus nature. Given the knowledge that Aylmer is an intelligent scientist, he acts on the fact that he can remove the birthmark nature has bestowed onto his wife. Doing this will show that science is powerful. However, the result of Aylmer trying to alter Georgiana causes her death. With this, Hawthorne explores Dark Romanticism. This is a genre that combines Romanticism and Gothic fiction. Dark Romanticism explores the sinful side of man. In “The Birthmark,” Aylmer is a man willing to play God. His actions overall lead to his demise. Also, Dark Romanticism allows Hawthorne to speak on the flaws of mankind.…

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