The Theme Of Science And Criticism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark” is one of many literary examples of how science becomes top priority over religion, values, and morals. In “The Birthmark” as well as in “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Hawthorne uses his main characters, who are young, innovative scientists, to represent man’s sole reliance on science, as if it is religion. In the ending of “The Birthmark”, Hawthorne displays how this kind of dependency resulted in the main character’s own downfall due to his own foolishness and unawareness of the consequences of drastically altering or supposedly “improving” nature.
The themes in “The Birthmark” are the foolishness in obsessively striving for human perfection, and science’s unsuccessful effort to control or alter
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Georgiana then agrees to the experimentation mainly to please Aylmer, but also because Georgiana starts to dislike the birthmark as well due to the uneasy and negative feelings the birthmark brings through Aylmer’s obsessive actions. Georgiana even tells Aylmer to "remove this dreadful hand or take my wretched life!" (The Norton Introduction to Literature 293). Aylmer begins to use his scientific research and experimentation to radically remove his wife’s imperfection. Aylmer, along with his monster-like lab assistant named Aminadab, later creates a solution, an elixir, and gives it to Georgiana. Aylmer’s scientific experiment appears to work as the birthmark disappears, but it suddenly goes horribly wrong as Georgiana slowly perishes just minutes after taking the …show more content…
“The Birthmark” was Hawthorne’s first fictional literary work after his marriage to Sophia Peabody. It was collected in “Mosses from an Old Manse (1846), a book containing a collection of Hawthorne’s short stories” (Wright, “The Birthmark”). Sarah Wright claims that there is a bit of similarity between Hawthorne and Aylmer. Just like Hawthorne, Aylmer is also a newlywed, in “addition to being a scientist, artist and an art lover” (Wright, “The

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