“Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not” (Galileo Galilei). Scientist Aylmer is disgusted with his wife Georgina’s birthmark and persistent in removing it. He thinks Georgina is perfect except for her birthmark and he says that the birthmark is a “visible mark on earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne, 304). Aylmer tries to remove something perfectly natural by using science in form of a fatal elixir. By looking at the opposing forces of nature and science as seen through the symbols of the birthmark and the contrast between Aminadab and Aylmer, we can see that Georgina’s natural beauty is becoming an experiment for Aylmer, which leads us to understand that even though science can change aspects of life for the better, we must remember the imperfection of humans and appreciate the people around us, as well as ourselves. The birthmark symbolizes imperfection and Georgina’s humanity and mortality, something that Aylmer does not appreciate. “Some fastidious persons- but they were exclusively of her own sex- affirmed that the bloody hand, as they chose to call it, quite destroyed the effect of Georgians beauty, and rendered her countenance even hideous.”(Hawthorne 305). In this quote, one can see what Aylmer means about the birthmark; it symbolizes imperfection. According to Aylmer, the birthmark is the only feature on Georgina’s body that makes her imperfect. Ironically, when her husband removes her birthmark, she can no longer live. In reality, a birthmark would not be the only flaw a person would have, however it may be the only visible deficiency. In this story, the birthmark is merely a symbol of shallow imperfection. Although the birthmark is the story’s most obvious symbol, one can find other symbols connected to the characters of Aylmer and his assistant Aminadab. While Aylmer’s behavior is a symbol of the divine, Aminadab’s behavior is a symbol...
Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel “The Birthmark.” Literature to Go. 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Marin’s, 2014. 322-325. Print.
"Galileo Galilei Quote." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.
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