Nature And Science In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story The Birthmark features Aylmer, a famed scientist, and Georgiana, a beautiful woman with a unique birthmark. Throughout the story, the couple delves into the world of science as Aylmer devotes himself to removing Georgiana’s birthmark with his experiments. Hawthorne purposely pokes at scientists who envision themselves as godlike, meaning that they can control nature at their will. As the story delves further and further into Aylmer’s madness, the distinction between nature and science is made clear. The Birthmark tells readers that although science can allude humans into taking they can determine fate, at the end of it all, the true destiny of everyone and everything relies on nature. The Birthmark begins with Aylmer, a genius scientist, halting his progress on his experiments to marry Georgiana. Georgiana is described as the epitome of perfect despite a small red …show more content…
Aylmer is symbolic of humankind’s curiosity to alter any state of life. The study of science is as vast as human’s curiosity which extends into controlling life. This theme is recurrent with Aylmer’s obsession with removing Georgiana’s birthmark. While Georgiana is his wife, he “[elevates her] into a scientific problem to be solved” (Zanger 366). Georgiana was born with her birthmark and this birthmark is seen as a gift of nature. The birthmark is one of Georgiana’s unique qualities that makes her human and indicates that nature is in control of everyone. When Aylmer, a mere human, alters Georgiana’s birthmark and removes it with a chemical potion, Aylmer reaps the consequences: his wife’s death. Since Aylmer scientifically changed Georgiana, nature punished Aylmer by killing the one person he loved. Aylmer is an example of humankind pushing the limits of science and the devastating effects it can lead

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