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Aylmer’s Obsession in “The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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Updated: Mar 27th, 2022

Before Georgina came along the most valuable thing in Aylmer’s life was science. He had dedicated his life to this field, and he felt that nothing was of greater value than its study. Georgina came along, and everything changed for him. He even abandoned his life long career for the sake of love.

After marriage, the only imperfection on her body, which is her birthmark, becomes unbearable to a point that he occasionally shudders when he sees it. The feeling grows in him until it becomes an obsession. It disturbs him so much that he even dreams of performing surgery on her. He sees it as the only thing that prevents the lady who changed his life from being perfect (Hawthorne 6).

What he hopes to accomplish by removing it

Aylmer hopes to achieve perfection. He believes that by removing it, she will be perfect. Though most men are content with the birthmark, Aylmer’s nature, personality and belief that science can solve anything makes it harder for him to appreciate the mark.

He also wants to remove it so as to be happy again. At the beginning everything was perfect, he valued her more than anything else, but after they became married, the presence of the birthmark bothered him a lot. The fact that he occasionally reacted negatively after seeing it is also proof that he was not happy.

In relation to the debate of science versus nature, he aimed at showing the greatness of science. The author tells us that the two things that mattered most in his life were the love for his wife and science. By using science to make her perfect, the results would support his claim that the best things that were offered by nature were inadequate.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Birthmark, S.l: Perfection Learning, 2007. Print.

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