Dr. David Lydic
English 1302 Comp II
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" takes place during the mid 1800's where "it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy" (528). Aylmer loves his new wife but upon her left cheek is a crimson birthmark the shape of a small hand which begins to bother him to the point of disgust. Aylmer believes the print upon any other face would not bother him but because his wife Georgiana was so "nearly perfect from the hand of Nature" it shocks him as an "earthly imperfection" (529). Every time Aylmer looks at Georgiana's birthmark he shudders which causes Georgiana pain and ultimately destroying their marriage. Because of his belief "in mans ultimate control over Nature" and his obsession over the birthmark Aylmer believes he can remove the birthmark to save their marriage (528). One day it is agreed that the birthmark can and should be removed, and so the next day they go to his laboratory which he has decorated to make Georgiana feel more comfortable. While she waits in a separate room Aylmer and his lab assistant, Aminidab, begin to concoct a potion to remove the birthmark. Through failed attempts and several long hours he finally arrives with the potion. Knowing that she could die she takes the potion believing that life with the birthmark would be worse than death. As she sleeps the crimson hand begins to disappear, and it is then that she wakes to discover the horrible truth, and his brief moment of triumph comes to a halt when she tells him, "Do not repent that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying" (538). If Aylmer had found a deeper wisdom, that nature cannot be perfected and that nature is made a certain way for a reason, then he would have realized that people are made to be unique and that physical perfection is not all there...